Queen facing Commonwealth upheaval as monarch flooded with leaders’ ‘problems’
Prince William will ‘strengthen the Commonwealth’ says Zahawi
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This year marks 70 years since Queen Elizabeth II, 96, succeeded her father King George VI to the British throne in 1952. Events to celebrate Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee will take place across a four-day bank holiday weekend at the beginning of June. The reign of Britain’s longest-serving monarch stretches from the dissolution of the British Empire to the modern day.
The Queen is head of the Commonwealth, the association of countries historically connected to the British Empire.
As well as the UK, her Majesty is head of state to 14 other Commonwealth realms, such as The Bahamas and New Zealand.
In her role as head of the Commonwealth, the Queen has to face the various “problems” of the constituent nations at their biannual meetings, according to the historian Hugo Vickers.
The royal historian helped plan Her Majesty’s last three jubilees and has had a role in promoting the Platinum Jubilee.
Discussing the Queen’s reign with Express.co.uk in the run-up to the Jubilee, he said: “She has always said at Commonwealth conferences that feels like a doctor.
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“Because she sees four prime ministers in the morning and four in the afternoon and they all come in and tell her their problems.
“They love it. They go out of some meetings very excited.
“She has tremendous drawing power. Again, look at [US President Donald] Trump, he couldn’t wait to come here and be photographed with her.
“I don’t think he would have been terribly excited if it was President Blair or President Brown. It has a huge magic.”
In the early years of the Queen’s reign, a string of countries declared their independence from Britain, including Sudan in 1956, Ghana in 1957 and Kenya in 1963.
Her Majesty was still relatively young during this period of upheaval and the Royal Family was shaken by developments.
Mr Vickers said: “When the Queen came to the throne, the Empire was dissolving very fast.
“Lots of countries were becoming independent and you’ve got that now with Barbados becoming a republic.
“She doesn’t mind that sort of thing, as long as they stay in the Commonwealth.
“That’s why they sent Prince Charles over there, I think.
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“And so, the ‘family of nations’ as she calls it, is sort of brought together because they wanted to be together not because they’re under some sort of colonial yoke, that kind of thing.”
Seven decades on and Britain and the Royal Family’s dark colonial past remains unresolved.
In November last year, Barbados officially removed Her Majesty as its head of state and became the world’s newest republic.
The Queen’s son and heir Prince Charles attended an overnight ceremony in the capital, Bridgetown to observe the historic occasion.
Bajan singer Rihanna was also at the event, which marked the island nation’s 55th anniversary of independence.
Reminders of Britain’s colonial past were also present during Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge’s recent eight-day tour of the Caribbean for the Jubilee.
In Jamaica, the couple were reported to have been involved in a conversation with the Prime Minister Andrew Holness about his nation becoming a republic – and therefore removing the Queen as head of state.
Protests also met the arrival of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, as demonstrators demanded reparations from the monarchy over Britain’s role in the slave trade.
Britain forcibly transported hundreds of thousands of Africans to work on sugar cane and banana plantations in Jamaica and the Caribbean.
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