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The Commonwealth at 60-plus


The Statute of Westminster 1931 states that "The Crown is the symbol of the free association of the members of the British Commonwealth of Nations as they are united by a common allegiance to the Crown." They are not likely to be interested in a Crown controlled by the EU.

A message from The Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, on the 60th anniversary of the London Declaration, which redefined Commonwealth membership for former colonies which had become republics:

This year the Commonwealth commemorates its foundation sixty years ago. The London Declaration of 1949 was the start of a new era in which our member countries committed themselves to work together, in partnership and as equals, towards a shared future.

We can rightly celebrate the fact that the founding members’ vision of the future has become a reality. The Commonwealth has evolved out of all recognition from its beginning. It has helped give birth to modern nations, and the eight original countries have become fifty-three. We are now home to nearly two billion people, a third of the world’s population. Across continents and oceans, we have come to represent all the rich diversity of humankind.

Yet despite its size and scale, the Commonwealth to me has been sustained during all this change by the continuity of our mutual values and goals. Our beliefs in freedom, democracy and human rights; development and prosperity mean as much today as they did more than half a century ago. . .

Much more could have been done if the British Government had not become a willing prisoner of the European Union.

What it is and what it is not

The Commonwealth of Nations, also known as the Commonwealth or the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-three independent member states. Many of them were once a part of the British Empire. Commonwealth goals include promoting democracy, good governance, the rule of law, individual liberty, free trade, multilateralism, and world peace.

The Commonwealth is not a political union, but an intergovernmental organisation with regular meetings between Commonwealth Heads of Government supported by a permanent Commonwealth Secretariat and headed by the Secretary-General. The symbol of this free association of equals is the Head of the Commonwealth, a ceremonial position currently held by Queen Elizabeth II.

The family

Elizabeth II is also the monarch, separately, of sixteen members of the Commonwealth, collectively called the Commonwealth realms. English is the chosen language of communication among the members of the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth Family is a network of associations, organisations, and charities affiliated to the Commonwealth of Nations. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission is responsible for marking and maintaining the graves of members of the Commonwealth of Nations who died in the two world wars.


Philip Benwell MBE is the National Chairman of the Australian Monarchist League, which has raised an important Constitutional question. He fears that the EU treaties have compromised the status of The Crown of the United Kingdom and consequently the status of The Crown in the sixteen countries that acknowledge the Queen as their head of state.

Benwell has been instrumental in establishing the Association of Commonwealth Realms to enable loyal subjects of the Queen, particularly in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, to express their concern. The Association was founded on 1 November 2006 at the House of Lords at a meeting hosted by Lord Stoddart of Swindon.

The interest of Commonwealth countries in the EU's negative impact on the Queen and the British Parliament is pertinent and welcome.

I note that one of the aims of the Association is to bring closer together the peoples of the English-speaking realms. Our shared interest in defending freedom is one of our fundamental shared interests.
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