Which countries recognize Queen Elizabeth as Head of State? | UK News


Barbados became the last Commonwealth country to become a republic – removing Queen Elizabeth II as head of state.

Prime Minister Mia Mottley said it was time to “leave our colonial past completely behind”.

In recent years, conversations about the Queen role as ruler of the Commonwealth Kingdom, nations have gained ground – with countries like Jamaica offering to replace her as head of state.

But what is the Queen’s current position and what power does she have over other Commonwealth countries that still recognize her as monarch?

The Queen with Governor General of Barbados Dame Sandra Mason in 2018

In which countries is Queen Elizabeth II Head of State?

At one time, the Queen was the recognized head of state of all countries in the Commonwealth of Nations – meaning she ruled them in the same ceremonial way as she does in the UK.

Today, the Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 54 independent countries, made up of 2.4 billion people, who work together to promote common interests.

Its roots go back to the British Empire when countries around the world were ruled by Great Britain.

July: Queen reacts to her new portrait

The 1949 London Declaration marked the birth of the modern Commonwealth and recognized King George VI as its head.

After her death, Commonwealth leaders recognized Queen Elizabeth II as such.

She is the head of state of 16 countries that are part of the Commonwealth Kingdom, including the United Kingdom.

These include Australia, Canada and New Zealand, as well as several island nations in the Caribbean and Indian Ocean.

These are Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bahamas, Belize, Grenada, Jamaica, Papua New Guinea, Saint Lucia, Solomon Islands, Saint Kitts and Nevis and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

February 18, 1966: The Queen and Prince Philip cross Barbados waving to the crowd.  (Photo by Keystone / Getty Images)
The Queen and Prince Philip cross Barbados in 1966

Which countries have deposed the queen as head of state?

Several countries abandoned the queen from this role in the years following independence, usually replacing her with a prime minister.

Barbados is the latter, although the Queen will remain in the role until November 2021.

It is not the first Caribbean country to do this.

BARBADOS - NOVEMBER 01: Queen Elizabeth II smiles with a young girl in Barbados on November 01, 1977 in Barbados.  (Photo by Anwar Hussein / Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth II smiles with a young girl in Barbados in 1977

Guyana followed suit in 1970, Trinidad and Tobago followed suit in 1976 and Dominica in 1978.

Barbados joins 38 other Commonwealth countries with a head of state other than Elizabeth II.

The last to do was Mauritius almost three decades ago in 1992.

Jamaica could be next to follow suit – in 2016, the country’s parliament considered a constitutional amendment to remove the Queen from the country’s monarch status.

Australia has had several high profile debates on the issue.

The nation nearly embraced republicanism in a 1999 referendum, but 54.9% of those voted to keep the Queen.

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip greet supporters on Commonwealth visit to Australia in 1954
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip greet supporters on Commonwealth visit to Australia in 1954

What power does the queen have as head of state?

Each country in the Commonwealth functions independently of the Queen, with its own elected governors and laws.

As head of state, the Queen has no real power, although she is recognized as the ceremonial leader, as in the UK.

When she is head of state, a governor general acts as the representative of the queen.

They carry out ceremonial daily tasks that the Queen would normally perform, such as the appointment of ministers, ambassadors and the royal assent of laws.

The Queen visits Jamaica in 1983
The Queen visits Jamaica in 1983

Governors General are elected or chosen by the country’s parliament, cabinet or prime minister and all formally appointed by the Queen.

On the advice of the government of a Commonwealth Kingdom, almost all Governors General are knighted by the Queen as an accepted standard and given the title Lady when they are female and Sir when they are male.

Canada and Australia are exceptions to this rule.


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