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‘Within the Commonwealth Realm’ – Oceania Islands

Spotting the Pacific Ocean, in the Oceania region lay three countries whom all fall into the Commonwealth Realm. Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu, all rich with history and culture.

Papua New Guinea

In the native language of pidgin language of Tok Pisin, Queen Elizabeth II is better known as ‘Missis Kwin’, or ‘Mama belong big family’. Her Royal title being Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, Queen of Papua New Guinea and Her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth.

In 1975, former territories of Britain, the Netherlands, Germany, Japan and Australia were combined and gained independence, yet kept The Queen as Sovereign. The Prince of Wales attended this celebration on The Queen’s behalf. Nevertheless, Queen Elizabeth has visited other times including her Silver Jubilee tour in 1977. Paying a visit to the capital Port Moresby, Popondetta and Alotau.

Solomon Islands

The Spanish discovered the Solomon Islands in 1568, then 300 years later became controlled by the British until the Second World War. The Japanese had taken over, before Americans captured the islands. Self-government was achieved in 1976 and finally full independence in 1978.

Similar to all other Commonwealth realms, Queen Elizabeth is represented by a Governor-General. This is currently His Excellency Sir Frank Kabui GCMG CSI OBE. and The Queen delegates all her powers to him.

A stamp with Queen Elizabeth's profile from the Solomon Islands.

A stamp with Queen Elizabeth’s profile from the Solomon Islands.

Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip, Princess Anne and Captain Mark Philips all visited the Solomon Islands in 1974. Then The Queen and Prince Philip returned again in 1982 after the Commonwealth Games in Australia.

Tuvalu

Once known as Ellice Islands, Tuvalu gained independence in 1978 and retained Queen Elizabeth as Head of State. However first Ellice Islands was annexed to the British Crown in 1892 along with Gilbert Islands (Kiribati as of today) on request of local governments and formed into the Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony in 1915. All until 1975 when Ellice Islands broke constitutional links with Gilbert Islands and took its current title of Tuvalu, obtaining independence three years later.

Uniquely, Tuvalu is a special member of the Commonwealth. They hold the right to take part in all Commonwealth activities and functions, but not to attend Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings.

Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, Queen of Tuvalu and Her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth (Queen Elizabeth’s official title) has visited these small islands in 1982. With a population of only 10,000, Tuvalu is the smallest country in the Commonwealth realm.

All these countries may be small, but big in heart, and are an important part of the Commonwealth realm.

Featured photo credit: karen horton via photopin cc

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