To those within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and indeed a large portion of the world, Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II is simply, The Queen of but to a number of people estimated at around 2.5 billion (2013) from all over the planet she is also the Head of the Commonwealth of Nations, a role which she takes extremely seriously and with great pride and a strong sense of duty.
The role of Head of the Commonwealth of Nations is a very important and very symbolic one; the incumbent is the representation of the free association of the member nations of which there are 54 independent member states including 16 where Her Majesty is also head of state as The Queen.
The London Declaration of 1949 states that the reigning British Monarch (at the time His Majesty, King George VI, The Queen’s father) will stand as a symbol of the Commonwealth and as such serve as Head of the Commonwealth. Just as her father did, The Queen has served the Commonwealth with dedication and commitment. During her annual Christmas message in 1953 she said:
The Commonwealth bears no resemblance to the empires of the past. It is an entirely new conception built on the highest qualities of the spirit of man: friendship, loyalty, and the desire for freedom and peace.
Today, the Head of the Commonwealth keeps in regular contact with the ongoing issues and developments throughout the world via the Commonwealth Secretary-General (currently Mr. Kamalesh Sharma – since the 1st of April 2008) and Commonwealth Secretariat, records a message to be broadcast on Commonwealth Day (the second Monday in March each year), takes part in Commonwealth Day events and attends the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting which is held in a member nation every two years.
It is here in the form of Head of the Commonwealth that we see another side of Her Majesty, The Queen; where we see how much time, effort and love she puts in for her people. She has taken a vow of a lifetime of service and looks to be following it to the letter.
Photo credit/source: photopin.com/The Queen and Julia Gillard at the 2011 Commonwealth Heads of Governments Meeting