Today the New York Times Room for Debate forum tackled the issue of democracies with monarchs. Omar G. Encarnación, author of the forthcoming Democracy Without Justice in Spain: The Politics of Forgetting, stepped into the fray with an essay entitled "Spain’s King, Eager to Lose Power." In his response to the monarchy question, Encarnación describes the almost counterintuitive relationship between democracy and the Spanish Crown in post-Franco Spain.
If it seems paradoxical that a monarchy could benefit democracy, you can look to Spain for a case study. In 1975, after the demise of the Franco dictatorship that had ruled since the end of the Spanish Civil War in 1939, the restored monarchy became a pillar of democratization. This explains why today, in light of persistent economic problems, many Spaniards question the expense of maintaining the monarchy, but few advocate for its abolition.