Monarchy of Solomon Islands

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Queen of Solomon Islands
Coat of arms of the Solomon Islands.svg
Incumbent
Official opening of the Fourth Senedd Assembly, June 7 2011 8 (cropped).jpg
Elizabeth II
since 7 July 1978
Details
StyleHer Majesty
Heir apparentCharles, Prince of Wales
First monarchElizabeth II
Formation7 July 1978
ResidenceGovernment House, Honiara[1]

The monarchy of Solomon Islands is a system of government in which a constitutional monarch is the head of state of Solomon Islands. The present monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who is also the head of state of fourteen other Commonwealth realms. Although the person of the sovereign is equally shared with 14 other independent countries within the Commonwealth of Nations, each country's monarchy is separate and legally distinct. As a result, the current monarch is officially titled the Queen of Solomon Islands and, in this capacity, she and other members of the Royal Family undertake public and private functions domestically and abroad as representatives of Solomon Islands. However, the Queen is the only member of the Royal Family with any constitutional role.

While several powers are of the sovereign alone, most of the constitutional and ceremonial duties in Solomon Islands are carried out by the Queen's representative, the Governor-General of Solomon Islands.

History[edit]

Solomon Islands gained self-government in 1976 following the independence of neighbouring Papua New Guinea from Australia in 1975. As a protectorate the Solomon Islands protectorate had never been under the sovereignty of the British monarch. It had never formed part of Her Majesty’s dominions. Under the Solomon Islands Act 1978 the territory was formally annexed to form part of Her Majesty’s dominions and granted independence. The new sovereign democratic state was established with the Queen as head of state. The new constitution, providing for fully responsible status within the Commonwealth, took effect under The Solomon Islands Independence Order 1978, an order in council which had been requested by the Legislative Assembly. It was made under the Foreign Jurisdiction Act 1890, and came into operation on 7 July 1978.[2]

Constitutional role[edit]

Sir David Vunagi, the Governor-General of Solomon Islands, with US Ambassador Erin Elizabeth McKee stand under a portrait of The Queen, after McKee presented her credentials to Vunagi

The Commonwealth of Nations has 56 member states, of which, fifteen are unofficially described as Commonwealth realms that recognise, individually, Elizabeth II as their monarch and therefore head of state; Solomon Islands is one of these. Each realm, including Solomon Islands, is a sovereign and independent state. Elizabeth II exercises her sovereignty only as Queen of Solomon Islands and on all matters relating to Solomon Islands, the monarch is advised solely by Solomon Islands ministers.[3]

As in the other Commonwealth realms, the monarch's role is almost entirely symbolic and cultural. The powers that are constitutionally hers are exercised almost wholly upon the advice of the cabinet, made up of Ministers of the Crown. On all matters of Solomon Islands, the monarch is advised solely by Solomon Islands ministers.[4]

The Crown and Honours[edit]

Within the Commonwealth realms, the monarch is the fount of honour.[5] Similarly, the monarch, as Sovereign of Solomon Islands, confers awards and honours in Solomon Islands in her name. Most of them are often awarded on the advice of "Her Majesty's Solomon Island Ministers".[6][7]

The Crown and the Police Force[edit]

The Police Force of Solomon Islands is known as the "Royal Solomon Islands Police Force". Under the Police Act 2013, all officers in the Police Force have to swear allegiance to the monarch of Solomon Islands, before taking office. The current oath is:[8]

"I, (name), Swear by Almighty God that I will well and truly serve Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Solomon Islands and will execute the powers and duties of my office honestly, faithfully and diligently without favour or affection, malice or ill-will towards any person and I will obey, uphold and maintain the laws of Solomon Islands. To the best of my power, I will seek and cause the peace to be preserved and will prevent all offences against the peace to the best of my skill and knowledge, and discharge all duties faithfully according to law."

The Crown and Government[edit]

The Solomon Islands Government is officially known as "Her Majesty's Government of Solomon Islands".[9]

The monarch of Solomon Islands is represented by the Governor-General of Solomon Islands, who is a citizen of Solomon Islands elected for a five-year term by the national parliament.[10] Formally, the monarch appoints the Governor-General on the advice of parliament. The current Governor-General is the Anglican Archbishop Emeritus of Melanesia and former Bishop of the Diocese of Central Melanesia, David Vunagi, who was first elected in 2019.[11] Governors-General must meet the same eligibility requirements as members of parliament and can serve no more than two terms.[12]

All executive powers of Solomon Islands rest with the sovereign. All laws in Solomon Islands are enacted only with the granting of Royal Assent, done by the Governor-General on behalf of the sovereign.[9]

The Governor-General is also responsible for proroguing, and dissolving the National Parliament.[9] The opening of a session of Parliament is accompanied by the Speech from the Throne by the Governor-General.[13]

The Crown and the Courts[edit]

Within the Commonwealth realms, the sovereign is responsible for rendering justice for all her subjects, and is thus traditionally deemed the fount of justice.[14] In Solomon Islands, criminal offences are legally deemed to be offences against the sovereign and proceedings for indictable offences are brought in the sovereign's name in the form of The Queen versus [Name], Regina versus [Name] or R versus [Name].[15][16][17] Hence, the common law holds that the sovereign "can do no wrong"; the monarch cannot be prosecuted in his or her own courts for criminal offences.[18]

The monarch, and by extension the governor-general, can also grant immunity from prosecution, exercise the royal prerogative of mercy, and pardon offences against the Crown, either before, during, or after a trial.[9]

Cultural role[edit]

The Queen's Birthday Parade in the Solomon Islands, 2019

The Queen's Official Birthday is a public holiday in the Solomon Islands. In the Solomon Islands, it is usually celebrated on the second Saturday of June every year.[19] It is regarded as one of the most important events of the year in the Solomon Islands. The day starts with the police marching band performing in the capital city of Honiara. Rallies are held all over the islands, which is followed by sporting events and custom dancing, and the celebrations and parties go long into the night.[20][21][22]

The Governor-General of the Solomon Islands delivers a speech on the Queen's Birthday,[23][24] and honours and medals are given to those who have done valiant things and great service for Solomon Islands and its people.[25]

A picture display at Honiara Hotel, Honiara, Solomon Islands to commemorate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee

Title[edit]

The Royal Style and Titles Act 2013 of the National Parliament of Solomon Islands granted the monarch a separate title in her role as Queen of Solomon Islands. The new style was already in non-statutory use since 1988, when it was included in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade Manual.[26][27]

The current style of the monarch of Solomon Islands is: Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, Queen of Solomon Islands and Her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth.[26][27]

Oath of allegiance[edit]

The oath of allegiance in Solomon Islands is:[9]

"I, (name), swear [or solemnly affirm] that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Her Heirs and Successors, according to law. [So help me God.]"

Royal visits[edit]

Queen blong yumi and Duke blong Edinburgh telling me such a good memories blong time algeter visitin this islands.
(Pijin: Our Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh have told me they have such good memories of their time visiting these islands.)

Members of the royal family occasionally visit Solomon Islands. The Queen has visited twice: in February 1974 (before independence) and in October 1982 (after the 1982 Commonwealth Games). Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, accompanied the Queen on both occasions, and also visited without the Queen, in 1959 and 1971. Princess Anne and Mark Phillips visited in 1974 and the Duke and the Duchess of Cambridge visited in 2012.[3]


References[edit]

  1. ^ Lennox, Doug (2009), Now You Know Royalty, Dundurn Press, p. 102, ISBN 9781770704060
  2. ^ The Solomon Islands Independence Order 1978, Statutory Instrument 1978 no. 783.
  3. ^ a b "Solomon Islands". 22 December 2015.
  4. ^ The Queen's role in Solomon Islands
  5. ^ Commonwealth Journal: The Journal of the Royal Commonwealth Society · Volumes 12-14, Royal Commonwealth Society, 1969, p. 99
  6. ^ "No. 62511". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 December 2018. p. N53.
  7. ^ "No. 63381". The London Gazette (5th supplement). 11 June 2021. p. B53.
  8. ^ Police Act 2013 (PDF), retrieved 3 October 2021
  9. ^ a b c d e "THE CONSTITUTION OF SOLOMON ISLANDS".
  10. ^ "Sectors".
  11. ^ "Mr Frank Kabui is elected new Governor-General designate of Solomon Islands | National Parliament of Solomon Islands".
  12. ^ "Sectors".
  13. ^ "GOVERNOR GENERAL OF SOLOMON ISLANDS DELIVERS 'SPEECH FROM THE THRONE'". ramsi.org. Retrieved 5 October 2021.
  14. ^ Davis, Reginald (1976), Elizabeth, our Queen, Collins, p. 36, ISBN 9780002112338
  15. ^ "Bade (Appellant) v The Queen (Respondent) (Solomon Islands)" (PDF). Retrieved 5 October 2021.
  16. ^ "REGINA V. PETER SHANEL" (PDF). Retrieved 5 October 2021.
  17. ^ "SOLOMON ISLANDS LAW REFORM COMMISSION". Retrieved 5 October 2021.
  18. ^ Halsbury's Laws of England, volume 12(1): "Crown Proceedings and Crown Practice", paragraph 101
  19. ^ The Commonwealth Yearbook 2006, Commonwealth Secretariat, 2006, p. 353, ISBN 9780954962944
  20. ^ Honan, Mark; Harcombe, David (1997), Solomon Islands, p. 65, ISBN 9780864424051
  21. ^ "Queen's Birthday Solomon Islands". publicholidays.asia. Retrieved 5 October 2021.
  22. ^ "Solomon Islands Celebrates the Queen's Birthday". aglobalworld.com. Retrieved 5 October 2021.
  23. ^ "Queen's Birthday Speech to be broadcasted". Solomon Islands Government. Retrieved 5 October 2021.
  24. ^ "Sir David sent well-wishes to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II". sibconline.com.sb. 13 June 2020. Retrieved 5 October 2021.
  25. ^ Ember, Melvin; Ember, Carol R. (2001), Countries and Their Cultures: Volume 4, Macmillan Reference USA, p. 2030, ISBN 9780028649467
  26. ^ a b "Solomon Islands: Heads of State: 1978-2021". archontology.org. Retrieved 22 May 2021.
  27. ^ a b Royal Style and Titles Act 2013 (passed by the National Parliament 1 Aug 2013, received royal assent 10 Oct 2013) and went into effect upon its publication in a supplement to the Solomon Islands Gazette, No. 82, Extra, 1 Nov 2013.
  28. ^ "'Mi hapi visiting': Prince Charles delights with pidgin speech in Solomon Islands". The Guardian. 26 November 2019. Retrieved 15 October 2021.
  29. ^ "Prince Charles delights the crowds in the Solomon Islands with a speech in pidgin English". Now To Love. 26 November 2019. Retrieved 15 October 2021.