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‘Within the Commonwealth Realm’ – The Caribbean: Part 1

The tropical oasis of the Caribbean is home to nine constitutional monarchies. In the next two segments of ‘Within the Commonwealth Realm’ we will take a look at these exotic, sun-kissed countries.

848905574_ee40f2a8bb_oAntigua and Barbuda

From 1833 to 1960, Antigua was part of the British colony, British Leeward Islands. In 1967 Antigua became a state of the Commonwealth, with Barbuda as a dependent. From there they developed independent status in 1981, keeping Queen Elizabeth as Sovereign.

Her Excellency Dame Louise Lake-Tack GCMG is the current Governor-General of Antigua and Barbuda. She maintains contact with The Queen and acts on her behalf.

The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh visited these islands in 1966 and again in 1977 for her Silver Jubilee. With Antigua’s 365 beaches, who could blame her?

Bahamas

Her Majesty’s Royal style on the pink sand beaches of the Bahamas is: ‘Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, Queen of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth’.

Once under Spanish rule from 1782-1783, the Bahamas became an independent self-governing nation of the Commonwealth in 1973 after many years under British rule.

The Prince of Wales, acting on The Queen’s behalf, has attended Independence Day celebrations. The Queen has visited the Bahamas on four occasions, including her Silver Jubilee and the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 1985.

Barbados

The Concorde plane now on display.

The Concorde plane now on display.

November 30, 1966 marks the day in which Barbados became independent after being under British rule since 1627. An elected Prime Minster runs the government, with Her Majesty as the Head of State.

Similar to all other Commonwealth realms, Queen Elizabeth designates her powers to a Governor-General to act on her behalf. The Governor-General performs day-to-day activities that The Queen performs in the UK.

On 2nd November 1977, The Queen made her first supersonic flight aboard Concorde from Barbados to Heathrow, London, marking the end of her Silver Jubilee tour. The plane now sits on display at the Barbados Concorde Experience museum.

Belize

Like all other Commonwealth realms, The Queen’s official title in Belize is: ‘Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, Queen of Belize and of Her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth’.

While not a Caribbean island, Belize is apart of Central America on the Caribbean sea. Populated by primarily Mayan Indians, the country went between Spanish and British rule. In 1862 it became British Honduras, a British colony. Only recently, in 1981, Belize gained independence keeping The Queen as Sovereign.

A few short years later Queen Elizabeth and The Duke of Edinburgh visited the country, taking in festivities, such as watching Junkanoo (a parade full of costumes, dance and music to a particular theme) put on by local children. Her Majesty was also presented the key to Belize City by the Mayor.

photo credits: Steve Conover and Linda Martin via photopin cc

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