Copyright: Bisbat d'Urgell
Copyright: Elysée Palace
Mons. Joan Enric Vives i Sicília, El Bisbe d'Urgell
Pati Palau, 1-5
25700 La Seu d'Urgell
Monsieur le Président de la République
Palais de l'Elysée
55, rue du faubourg Saint-Honoré
The state is known as Principat d'Andorra in its national language. This means the Principality of Andorra.
Andorra has two symbolic heads of state, who don't live in the country themselves.
The first sovereign is the Bishop of Urgell. Since 12 May 2003 that is Joan Enric Vives i Sicília, born at Barcelona, Spain, on 24 July 1949 as son of Francesc Vives y Pons and Cornèlia Sicília Ibáñez.
He succeeded Joan Martí Alanis (1928-2009), who was co-prince from 1971 to 2003.
The second sovereign is the President of France. Since 14 May 2017 that is Emmanuel Jean-Michel Frédéric Macron, born at Amiens, France, on 21 December 1977 as son of Jean-Michel Macron and Françoise Noguès.
He succeeded François Hollande, who was co-prince from 2012 to 2017.
Only since 1993 Andorra is a parliamentary democracy. There are two heads of state, called co-prince. Since 1993 their status is symbolic. One of them is the bishop of Urgell, the other is the president of France. They are represented in Andorra itself by representatives. The co-princes have limited powers that do not include veto over government acts. They have supreme authority in approval of all international treaties with France and Spain and those which deal with internal security, defense, Andorran territory, diplomatic representation and judicial or penal cooperation.
Andorra is the last independent of the buffer states (Marca Hispanica) that were created by Charlemagne (742-814) to keep the Moors from invading France. In the 9th century the counts of Urgell became overlord of Andorra. Later on they gave the land to the Diocese of Urgell. Andorra was in 1396 and 1512 briefly annexed by the Kingdom of Aragon. The Counts de Foix were co-prince from 1278 to 1517, the royal house of Navarre from 1517 to 1572. Afterwards the kings of France became co-prince. An edict of 1607 officially established the head of the French state and the Bishop of Urgell as co-princes of Andorra.