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‘Within the Commonwealth Realm’ – Introduction

medium_7286136848The United Kingdom does not stand alone as being proud to call Queen Elizabeth II their Queen. The Commonwealth realm was created through the Statute of Westminster in 1931 to give former dominions of the UK legislative freedom.

Today, this includes a total of sixteen countries who view Queen Elizabeth II as their head of state. They comprise of the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Papua New Guinea, St Christopher and Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Tuvalu, Barbados, Grenada, Solomon Islands, St Lucia and The Bahamas.

This is not to be confused with is the Commonwealth of Nations, whose members include a voluntary membership of 53 countries, many of whom are former territories of the British Empire. That is over 29,958,050 km2 – about a quarter of the world’s land mass – and has a population of over 2 billion.

The Singapore Declaration of 1971 defines what the Commonwealth is. It begins with: “The Commonwealth of Nations is a voluntary association of independent sovereign states, each responsible for its own policies, consulting and co-operating in the common interests of their peoples and in the promotion of international understanding and world peace.”

However, in this upcoming series, we will take a look at the role of the Monarch in the Commonwealth realms, and take readers through a detailed account of the history, ceremonies, past visits and The Queen’s place in daily life of these diverse dominions.

Photo credit: The Commonwealth via photopin cc

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