Australian PM says King Charles will ‘focus on Commonwealth’
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Spanning Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe and the Pacific, Commonwealth countries have one thing in particular in common and that is Queen Elizabeth II. She was head of the Commonwealth, a voluntary association of 54 independent countries.
The Queen was Sovereign of 14 realms excluding the UK.
These include Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Belize, Canada, Grenada, Jamaica, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Solomon Islands, and Tuvalu.
The role of the Queen is one which was described as “symbolic and unifying”, helping to join people together around the world.
The Commonwealth itself exists to help foster international cooperation and trade links.
Leaders of the Commonwealth countries ever every two years at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).
Here, even the smallest of nations are given a voice in “shaping the Commonwealth” according to the associated website.
Along with these meetings though, Queen Elizabeth herself would make visits to these countries to meet with important figures and citizens.
Through these visits, she hoped to strengthen ties and boost the feeling of inclusion.
During her reign, The Queen undertook more than 200 visits to Commonwealth countries.
What’s more, she visited every country of the Commonwealth, with the exception of Cameroon, which joined in 1995 and Rwanda which joined in 2009.
She has also made multiple return trips to these nations over the years.
In fact, around one-third of all of her overseas visits were to the countries making up the Commonwealth.
Prince Philip also often joined his wife, or travelled solo, to visit Commonwealth nations too.
While the Monarch gave up overseas visits in her later years, the younger royals took on much of this responsibility.
Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince Harry have all made special trips.
The Queen would speak frequently with the Commonwealth Secretary-General and her Secretariat to stay up-to-date with developments within the international group.
Since 1977, Commonwealth Day has celebrated the nations involved on the second Monday in March.
Every year the Queen would attend the special jubilee.
Speaking about the Commonwealth, the Monarch once said: “I have behind me not only the splendid traditions and the annals of more than a thousand years but the living strength and majesty of the Commonwealth and Empire; of societies old and new; of lands and races different in history and origins but all, by God’s Will, united in spirit and in aim.”
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Below is a full list of the 54 Commonwealth countries:
- The Gambia
- Kingdom of Eswatini
- Sierra Leone
- South Africa
- United Republic of Tanzania
- Brunei Darussalam
- Sri Lanka
Caribbean and Americas
- Antigua and Barbuda
- The Bahamas
- Saint Lucia
- St Kitts and Nevis
- St Vincent and The Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
- United Kingdom
- New Zealand
- Papua New Guinea
- Solomon Islands
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