- head of state
- The leading representative of the state, usually either a president or monarch. The incumbent normally has an essentially symbolic role, but like the flag and certain other traditions the office can provide a focus around which people can rally in times of difficulty. It serves as a reminder to people that, beyond the cut and thrust of party strife, there is someone who represents continuity, stability, tradition and who embodies the whole nation.All European countries have a head of state. In the continent’s monarchies, this will be the king or queen. In republics, it will be a president, either directly or indirectly elected. In the United States, two posts are combined in one, head of state and head of government.
Glossary of UK Government and Politics . 2013.