Queen Elizabeth II Memorialized by Commonwealth Countries

This excellent article on the Queen and Commonwealth was originally published by Wealthy Living Tim Thomas / Timothy Thomas Limited. They gave us permission to republish the article here.

The world was devastated to hear of the passing of Queen Elizabeth II on September 8, 2022.

After a historic 70-year reign as Queen of the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth realms, she passed peacefully at Balmoral at the age of 96. 

News outlets worldwide covered the memorial services in London as ‘Operation London Bridge’ came into effect.

But what occurred in the other realms that the Queen reigned over?

Let’s take a look at the Commonwealth realms and how they memorialized the Queen. 

What are Commonwealth Realms

Her Majesty the Queen was head of the Commonwealth and as such, was head of state of the Commonwealth realms.

A Commonwealth realm is a country with the Queen (now King) as its Monarch. They are represented by a Governor General who the Monarch appoints on the recommendation of the President or Prime Minister of the country. 

In addition to the UK, there are currently 14 Commonwealth realms: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Belize, Canada, Grenada, Jamaica, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, The Solomon Islands, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Tuvalu. 

Making the Distinction: Commonwealth of Nations Versus Commonwealth Realms

Commonwealth of Nations: A voluntary political association of 56 member nations working towards shared goals of development, democracy, and peace. 

Commonwealth Realms: A nation in which the British Monarchy presides as head of state, represented by a Governor General.

All countries in the Commonwealth realm are also members of the Commonwealth of Nations. 

What Has Each Realm Done to Memorialize the Queen?

Antigua and Barbuda

  • Declared a national public holiday on September 19, 2022
  • Hosted a national commemoration ceremony
  • Conducted a memorial parade

Australia

  • Declared a national public holiday on September 22, 2022
  • Hosted a national memorial service 
  • Observed a minute of silence
  • Created condolence books for the public to write in

The Bahamas

  • Declared a national public holiday on September 19, 2022

Belize

  • Declared a national public holiday on September 19, 2022

Canada

  • Hosted a national commemoration ceremony
  • Hosted a memorial parade
  • Completed a 96-gun salute
  • Declared an official ten days of mourning, with a national public holiday on September 19, 2022
  • Donated $20 million to the Queen Elizabeth Scholars program
  • Created condolence books for the public to write in

Grenada

  • Flown flags at half-mast
  • Plans to host a national memorial service on September 25, 2022

Jamaica

  • Flown flags at half-mast
  • Declared a national day of mourning on September 18, 2022
  • Hosted an official memorial service
  • Created condolence books for the public to write in

New Zealand

  • Declared a national public holiday on September 26, 2022
  • Plans to host a national memorial service on September 26, 2022

Papua New Guinea

  • Hosted a national commemoration ceremony to honour the Queen and proclaim the ascension of King Charles III as the new head of state

Solomon Islands

  • Declared three official days of mourning from September 12 to 14, 2022
    • September 12, 2022, as a public holiday
  • Created condolence books for the public to sign
  • Laid wreaths at Government House
  • Hosted a national memorial service
  • Declared the ascension of King Charles III as the new head of state
  • Flown flags at half-mast

Saint Kitts and Nevis

  • Issued a statement from the Prime Minister

Saint Lucia

  • Declared ten official days of mourning from September 9 to 18, 2022
  • Completed a 96-gun salute

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

  • Declared an official mourning period of ten days
  • Flown flags at half-mast
  • Observed a minute of silence

Tuvalu

  • Information unavailable

Next Steps for the Commonwealth Realms

The death of the Queen prompted the ascension of His Majesty King Charles III to the throne and, subsequently, his ascension as head of state for the Commonwealth realms. 

There has been a resurgence of the debate to cut ties with the monarchy in many of the Commonwealth realms following the announcement of the Queen’s passing.

In particular, many Caribbean Commonwealth states have expressed interest in becoming republics.

A transition to a republic would mean that these countries would have the ability to elect their own head of state independently of an external body.

This role would oversee the domestic and foreign affairs of the country.

Furthermore, it would allow colonized countries to make a symbolic move away from an empire that historically enslaved their ancestors.

Jamaica has already initiated the process of transitioning to a republic (as of June 2022), and anticipates that they will no longer have a British monarch as head of state by the upcoming 2025 election. 

New Zealand’s Prime Minister has previously joined the conversation by way of mentioning that she expects NZ to cut ties with the monarchy “during her lifetime”. 

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