While Australians continue to debate whether the nation should remain as a realm of the Commonwealth with Her Majesty the Queen as head of state or elect an Australian head of state, Queen Elizabeth has delivered a powerful speech about the importance of the Commonwealth, ahead of Commonwealth on Monday.
Released via the official Royal Family page on Twitter on Saturday, the 92-year-old explained that 2019’s Commonwealth Day was particularly monumental.
“Commonwealth Day has a special significance this year as we mark the 70th anniversary of the London Declaration, when nations of the Commonwealth agreed to move forward together as free and equal members,” Her Majesty said. “The vision and sense of connection that inspired the signatories has stood the test of time, and the Commonwealth continues to grow, adapting to address contemporary needs.”
The Queen explained that millions of people around the world come together because of the shared values of the Commonwealth and recalled important meetings at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle last year as part of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting where leaders of 53 nations joined forces to discuss how the Commonwealth offers hope, inspiration and protection.
“We are able to look to the future with greater confidence and optimism as a result of the links that we share, and thanks to the networks of cooperation and mutual support to which we contribute, and on which we draw,” the Queen continued. “With enduring commitment through times of great change, successive generations have demonstrated that whilst the goodwill for which the Commonwealth is renowned may be intangible, its impact is very real.
“We experience this as people of all backgrounds continue to find new ways of expressing through action the value of belonging in a connected Commonwealth. I hope and trust that many more will commit to doing so this Commonwealth Day.”
“In April last year, I welcomed the leaders of our 53 nations to Buckingham Palace & Windsor Castle for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, & we all witnessed how the Commonwealth vision offers hope, & inspires us to find ways of protecting our planet, & our people.” pic.twitter.com/pHqhULzORS
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) March 9, 2019
The Queen’s speech comes just months after Starts at 60 conducted a poll where readers shared their views on being part of the Commonwealth or whether the nation should cut ties with the royal family.
An overwhelming majority of respondents voted against the notion of an Australian Republic led by an Australian Head of State, with the most popular reason for wanting to remain under the rule of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II being a lack of faith in the country’s top politicians, such as former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Labor leader Bill Shorten.
Read more: ‘The system has served us well’: Older Aussies reject Australian Republic
Eight out of 10 respondents voted in favour of remaining part of the Commonwealth under the rule of Queen Elizabeth, while just 20 per cent said they would prefer to have an elected Australian as the head of state.
The Queen reigns over 16 of the 53 member countries as Head of the Commonwealth, including Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Grenada, Jamaica, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, and the United Kingdom.