Queen of Sierra Leone

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Queen of Sierra Leone
Coat of arms of Sierra Leone.svg
Queen Elizabeth II 1959.jpg
Details
StyleHer Majesty
Formation27 April 1961
Abolition19 April 1971

Elizabeth II was Queen of Sierra Leone from 1961 to 1971, when Sierra Leone was an independent constitutional monarchy. She was also the monarch of other Commonwealth realms, including the United Kingdom. Her constitutional roles in Sierra Leone were mostly delegated to the governor-general of Sierra Leone.

History[edit]

The Queen on Sierra Leonean stamps of 1956

Sierra Leone became an independent realm by the Sierra Leone Independence Act 1961, which transformed the British Crown Colony of Sierra Leone into an independent member of the Commonwealth of Nations.[1] Queen Elizabeth II became the head of state and Queen of Sierra Leone, and was represented by the governor-general who resided at the State House.[2]

The Duke of Kent represented the Queen at the independence celebrations. Princess Alexandra of Kent represented the Queen at a Thanksgiving Service held in London on Sierra Leone's Independence Day.[3] At Freetown, the Duke of Kent opened the new Parliament Building on 26 April. Sierra Leone became independent at midnight of 26-27 April and later that day the Duke took part in the State opening of Parliament, where the Duke handed over the constitutional instruments to Sir Milton Margai, which made Sierra Leone an independent nation.[4][5] Later Sir Maurice Dorman, the Governor, was sworn in as the Governor-General, the Queen's representative, by Chief Justice Beoku Betts.[6]

The Queen sent a message to Sierra Leoneans, in which she said:

My husband and I are looking forward with pleasure to our own visit to you later this year, but today our thoughts are with you. It is with special pleasure that I welcome you to our Commonwealth family of nations. You step forward into the councils of the world at a time of rapid change, but I know that Sierra Leone, grounded firmly in her own traditions, will play a worthy part there. I send you my own good wishes and pray that God may bless and guide you throughout the coming years.[3]

Constitutional role[edit]

The flag of the Sierra Leonean Governor-General featuring the St Edward's Crown

Sierra Leone was one of the realms of the Commonwealth of Nations that shared the same person as Sovereign and head of state.[7]

Effective with the Sierra Leone Independence Act 1961, no British government minister could advise the sovereign on any matters pertaining to Sierra Leone, meaning that on all matters of Sierra Leone, the monarch was advised solely by Sierra Leonean ministers of the Crown. All Sierra Leonean bills required Royal assent. The Sierra Leonean monarch was represented in the country by the Governor-General of Sierra Leone, who was appointed by the monarch on the advice of the Sierra Leonean Prime Minister.[2][8]

The Crown and Government[edit]

The Sierra Leonean monarch and the Sierra Leonean House of Representatives constituted the Parliament of Sierra Leone.[9][10] All executive powers of Sierra Leone rested with the sovereign.[11] All laws in Sierra Leone were enacted only with the granting of royal assent, done by the Governor-General on behalf of the sovereign.[2] The Governor-General was also responsible for summoning, proroguing, and dissolving Parliament.[12] The Governor-General had the power to choose and appoint the Council of Ministers and could dismiss them under his discretion. All Sierra Leonean ministers of the Crown held office at the pleasure of the Governor-General.[13]

The Crown and Foreign affairs[edit]

Sierra Leonean representatives to foreign countries were accredited by the monarch in her capacity as Queen of Sierra Leone and Sierra Leonean envoys sent abroad required royal approval.[2] The letters of credence were formally issued in the name of the monarch.[14]

The Crown and the Courts[edit]

All Sierra Leonean judges had to swear that they would "well and truly serve" the monarch of Sierra Leone and "and do right to all manner of people after the laws and usages of Sierra Leone without fear or favour, affection or ill will".[15]

The highest court of appeal for Sierra Leone was the Judicial Committee of the Queen's Privy Council.[16][17] The monarch, and by extension the governor-general, could also grant immunity from prosecution, exercise the royal prerogative of mercy, and pardon offences against the Crown, either before, during, or after a trial.[18]

Title[edit]

The Royal Style and Titles Act, 1961 of the Sierra Leonean Parliament granted the monarch a separate title in her role as Queen of Sierra Leone.[19]

Elizabeth II had the following styles in her role as the monarch of Sierra Leone:

  • 27 April 1961 – 16 November 1961: Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith[20][21]
  • 16 November 1961 – 19 April 1971: Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Sierra Leone and of Her Other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth[22][21][23]

Oath of allegiance[edit]

The oath of allegiance in Sierra Leone was:

"I, (name), do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Her Heirs and Successors according to law. So help me God".

A person could choose to replace the word swear with the phrase solemnly and sincerely affirm and declare, and to omit the phrase so help me God.[24]

Cultural role[edit]

For more than a hundred and fifty years we had been associated with the British Crown. But much as our people loved Queen Victoria and have been proud to be loyal subjects of the Crown in succceding years, it was not by our own choice. We were not then free to choose. Now, Your Majesty, we are free, free to determine our own future, free to make our own choice. In that freedom we have chosen Your Majesty and one and all in Sierra Leone today applauds that choice. You yourself have graciously consented to become Our Queen. Your Majesty has acquired a new, proud and devoted people—we have acquired our own Queen who now knows us as we know her.

The Crown and Honours[edit]

Within the Commonwealth realms, the monarch is deemed the "fount of honour".[26] Similarly, the monarch, as Sovereign of Sierra Leone, conferred awards and honours in Sierra Leone in her name. Most of them were awarded on the advice of "Her Majesty's Sierra Leone Ministers".[27][28]

The Crown and the Defence Force[edit]

The Governor-General was the Commander-in-Chief of Sierra Leone.[29]

The Crown sat at the pinnacle of the Sierra Leonean Defence Force. It was reflected in the Sierra Leonean Military Forces, which were known as "Royal Sierra Leone Military Forces". The prefix "Royal" was dropped when the Sierra Leonean monarchy was abolished.[30]

Queen's Personal Flag for Sierra Leone[edit]

The Queen's Personal Flag for Sierra Leone

Queen Elizabeth II had a personal flag for use in Sierra Leone.[31][32] It was used for the first time when she visited the nation in 1961.[33] The flag featured the coat of arms of Sierra Leone in banner form, which depicts a lion beneath a zigzag border, representing the Lion Mountains, after which the country was named. It also shows three torches which are meant to symbolize peace and dignity. At the base are wavy bars depicting the sea. A blue disc of the letter "E" crowned surrounded by a garland of gold roses defaces the flag, which is taken from the Queen's Personal Flag.[34][35] The Sierra Leonean standard also served as the inspiration for the design and layout of her personal standard for Canada.[36]

Royal tour of 1961[edit]

The Queen said in her Christmas broadcast in 1958, that she and her husband would be visiting Sierra Leone in late 1959.[37] But later the visit was postponed, as she had become pregnant in 1959.[38]

External video
video icon Sierra Leone Greets the Queen (1961) Source: BFI National Archive.

Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip, visited Sierra Leone from 25 November to 1 December 1961.[39] They arrived in Freetown on the royal yacht Britannia, and Queen Elizabeth II Quay was so-named as a result.[40]

Elizabeth II was welcomed as the queen of Sierra Leone and she also used a distinct Sierra Leonean flag.[41][33][42] Colloquially, she was referred to as Mama Queen II by the people of Sierra Leone.[43] She was given a gold key to the city of Freetown by its mayor, who wore red robes and a cocked hat.[33] The Queen and her husband stayed at the governor-general's residence during their visit. The monarch also presented new colours to the Royal Sierra Leone Regiment at the Brookfields Stadium.[44] The new Queen's Colour incorporated the new flag of Sierra Leone. The new colours, placed upon piled drums, were blessed by the imam of the Muslim Congress – "In thy holy name, O Allah, most gracious, most merciful" – by the Roman Catholic bishop of Freetown and Bo, by the president of the United Christian Council and by the Anglican bishop of Freetown.[33]

In Bo, a durbar of paramount chiefs was held for the Queen at the Bo Coronation field, where chiefs and their "Devil Dancers" performed for the royal couple.[45][46] Each paramount chief was presented to the monarch and awarded a commemorative medal.[41]

A Sierra Leonean medal bearing Queen Elizabeth II's effigy and an inscription on the obverse

The Queen and the Duke toured several places and attended a number of events, including the Bo Hospital,[47] an agricultural show in Kenema,[41] the iron ore in Marampa,[47] the Sierra Leone Press and Radio,[47] a civic reception by the Freetown City Council,[47] a gathering of chiefs and people at Port Loko,[48] and the Children's Rally and Citizens' Parade in Freetown.[47] In honour of the royal visit, an entire model village was laid out, so that the Queen could see how some of the people of Sierra Leone live in villages.[41] She and her husband also attended a divine service at the St. George's Cathedral in Freetown, where they were received by the Bishop of Sierra Leone.[49][41] The Duke of Edinburgh also visited the Guma Valley, where a dam was being built.[47] At the University of Sierra Leone, Queen Elizabeth II, being the visitor of the university, presented degrees to students, accompanied by her husband and the prime minister.[41]

It gives great satisfaction to me and to my husband that we should be able to visit Sierra Leone at this historic stage in its development. It has been a great pleasure to see for ourselves its beauty and to meet so many of its peoples.[50]

Elizabeth II of Sierra Leone, 1961

At a dinner banquet, Prime Minister Milton Margai addressed the Queen and said, "your visit means above everything else that you are more to us than a distant Head of the Commonwealth. You are indeed Our Queen and we have a special claim on your interest, sympathy and affection". The Queen, speaking of Prime Minister Milton Margai, said, "Sierra Leone can count herself truly fortunate, but while gaining her independence, she has found a leader wise, experienced and devoted to her people".[51] In Freetown, she visited the Parliament of Sierra Leone, where she received a loyal address.[41]

At the end of the tour, a garden party was given by Margai at his official residence.[47][41] During her departure from Sierra Leone, the Queen was presented with an indigenous Sierra Leonean diamond by Margai, as a farewell gift.[41]

Abolition[edit]

The Sierra Leonean monarchy was abolished in 1971, when Sierra Leone became a republic within the Commonwealth with the president of Sierra Leone as head of state.[52]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Sierra Leone Independence Bill". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). Vol. 230. Lords. 27 March 1961. col. 23–40.
  2. ^ a b c d Michael S. Kargbo (2006). British Foreign Policy and the Conflict in Sierra Leone, 1991–2001. Peter Lang. pp. 70–71. ISBN 0-8204-7506-8.
  3. ^ a b Great Britain. Colonial Office. Information Department (1964), Memo: Issue 4, Part 4, p. 9
  4. ^ "From the archive, 27 April 1961: Sierra Leone celebrates independence", The Guardian, 27 April 2011, retrieved 10 September 2021
  5. ^ Esther L. Megill (2004), Sierra Leone Remembered, p. 99, ISBN 9781418455491
  6. ^ "1961: Sierra Leone wins independence", BBC, 27 April 1961, retrieved 10 September 2021
  7. ^ Sierra Leone (1961), Supplement to the Laws with an Index of Legislation in Force on 31 December 1961, Government Printer, South Africa, p. 586
  8. ^ The Statesman's Year-Book 1971-72: The Businessman's Encyclopaedia of All Nations, Palgrave Macmillan UK, 28 December 2016, p. 441, ISBN 9780230271005
  9. ^ Norman W. Wilding, Philip Laundy (1968), An Encyclopaedia of Parliament, F. A. Praeger, p. 676
  10. ^ Sierra Leone (1961), Supplement to the Laws with an Index of Legislation in Force on 31 December 1961, Government Printer, South Africa, p. 226
  11. ^ Sierra Leone (1961), Supplement to the Laws with an Index of Legislation in Force on 31 December 1961, Government Printer, South Africa, p. 238
  12. ^ Sierra Leone (1961), Supplement to the Laws with an Index of Legislation in Force on 31 December 1961, Government Printer, South Africa, p. 237
  13. ^ Sierra Leone (1961), Supplement to the Laws with an Index of Legislation in Force on 31 December 1961, Government Printer, South Africa, p. 239
  14. ^ United States Department of State (1961), Press Releases, p. NO. 505
  15. ^ Sierra Leone (1961), Supplement to the Laws with an Index of Legislation in Force on 31 December 1961, Government Printer, South Africa, p. 209
  16. ^ "Sierra Leone - Government and society". Britannica. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  17. ^ Sierra Leone (1961), Supplement to the Laws with an Index of Legislation in Force on 31 December 1961, Government Printer, South Africa, p. 246
  18. ^ Sierra Leone (1961), Supplement to the Laws with an Index of Legislation in Force on 31 December 1961, Government Printer, South Africa, p. 242
  19. ^ Sierra Leone (1961), Supplement to the Laws with an Index of Legislation in Force on 31 December 1961, Government Printer, South Africa, p. 411-412
  20. ^ "No. 39873". The London Gazette (Supplement). 26 May 1953. p. 3023.
  21. ^ a b "Sierra Leone: Heads of State: 1961–1971". archontology.org. Retrieved 22 May 2021.
  22. ^ Edgington, David William (1972), The Theory and Practice of Government: A Handbook of Current Affairs for Students in Africa, Evans Bros., p. 122, ISBN 9780237288426
  23. ^ Royal Style and Titles Act, 1961 (full title: An Act to provide for an Alteration of the Royal Style and Titles) was assented 8 Nov 1961 and took effect upon publication on 16 Nov 1961, providing for adoption of a new style and titles and for issuing a proclamation for that purpose which is presumed to have been issued shortly after.
  24. ^ Sierra Leone (1961), Supplement to the Laws with an Index of Legislation in Force on 31 December 1961, Government Printer, South Africa, p. 209
  25. ^ "Royal Visit to Sierra Leone, 25th November-1st December, 1961: A Record in Words and Pictures", Sierra Leone. Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Ministry of Information, p. 60, 1962
  26. ^ Commonwealth Journal: The Journal of the Royal Commonwealth Society · Volumes 12-14, Royal Commonwealth Society, 1969, p. 99
  27. ^ "No. 43670". The London Gazette (4th supplement). 4 June 1965. p. 5517.
  28. ^ "No. 44866". The London Gazette (4th supplement). 6 June 1969. p. 6005.
  29. ^ Sierra Leone (1961), Supplement to the Laws with an Index of Legislation in Force on 31 December 1961, Government Printer, South Africa, p. 226
  30. ^ Regiments: Regiments and Corps of the British Empire and Commonwealth, 1758-1993 : a Critical Bibliography of Their Published Histories, R. Perkins, 1994, p. 246, ISBN 9780950642932
  31. ^ Flags of the World, F. Warne, 1978, p. 27, ISBN 9780723220152, The Royal Standard had accordingly been designed for Sierra Leone, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Malta.
  32. ^ Cathcart, Helen (1962), Her Majesty the Queen: The Story of Elizabeth II., Dodd, Mead, p. 236, When she adopted a new personal flag specifically for use in Sierra Leone "to fly on all occasions when Her Majesty is present in person", the monarch endowed special ceremonial status upon one of her smaller independent states.
  33. ^ a b c d "Queen causes a frenzy in Freetown: A royal visit to Sierra Leone creates colourful boating chaos". The Observer. 26 November 1961. Retrieved 8 November 2015.
  34. ^ Sierra Leone Trade Journal, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, 1961, p. 52, The new personal flag which the Queen has adopted for use in Sierra Leone during her visit in November. It consists of a flag of THE ARMS OF SIERRA LEONE charged in the centre with Her Majesty's own device, namely on a blue field the initial letter 'E' ... Royal Crown both in gold (or yellow) all within a ... of roses also in gold (or yellow).
  35. ^ "SIERRA LEONE FLAGS. H.M the Queen for Use in Sierra Leone, vintage print 1958". Alamy. 1958. Retrieved 14 May 2021.
  36. ^ Bousfield, Arthur; Toffoli, Garry (2002). Fifty Years the Queen: A Tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on Her Golden Jubilee. Dundurn. p. 119. ISBN 9781459714359. The inspiration for the flag came from the personal one that had been adopted at the Queen's own instigation for Sierra Leone the previous year. The Queen's flag was to be used in whatever place in the country the Sovereign personally present.
  37. ^ "Christmas Broadcast 1958", Royal.uk, 25 December 1958, retrieved 10 September 2021
  38. ^ "Queen Elizabeth, Kate Middleton, and the Changing Game of Royal Pregnancy Announcements", VOGUE, 12 September 2017, retrieved 10 September 2021
  39. ^ "Commonwealth visits since 1952". Official website of the British monarchy. Royal Household. Retrieved 8 November 2015.
  40. ^ "Pomp, ceremony and Haile Selassie's pet lions – the most memorable royal tours of Africa". The Telegraph. 24 September 2018. Retrieved 8 July 2021.
  41. ^ a b c d e f g h i BFI (1961). "Sierra Leone Greets the Queen (1961) | BFI National Archive". Retrieved 8 July 2021 – via YouTube.
  42. ^ "Royal Visit to Sierra Leone, 25th November-1st December, 1961: A Record in Words and Pictures", Sierra Leone. Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Ministry of Information, p. 29, 1962
  43. ^ Time vol. 78, part 3, Time Incorporated, 1961, p. 23, At a ceremonial durbar, in the Sierra Leone provincial town of Bo, some of the paramount chiefs got so high on palm wine that they had to be carried to greet "Mama Queen II" (Queen Victoria was Mama Queen I).
  44. ^ "Royal Visit to Sierra Leone, 25th November-1st December, 1961: A Record in Words and Pictures", Sierra Leone. Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Ministry of Information, p. 47, 1962
  45. ^ "Out of War: Violence, Trauma, and the Political Imagination in Sierra Leone", Mariane C. Ferme, University of California Press, 2018, ISBN 9780520967526
  46. ^ "Sierra Leone, Bo Province". Getty Images. Retrieved 8 July 2021.
  47. ^ a b c d e f g "Royal Visit to Sierra Leone, 25th November-1st December, 1961: A Record in Words and Pictures", Sierra Leone. Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Ministry of Information, p. 5, 1962
  48. ^ "Royal Visit to Sierra Leone, 25th November-1st December, 1961: A Record in Words and Pictures", Sierra Leone. Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Ministry of Information, p. 23, 1962
  49. ^ "Royal Visit to Sierra Leone, 25th November-1st December, 1961: A Record in Words and Pictures", Sierra Leone. Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Ministry of Information, p. 11, 1962
  50. ^ "Royal Visit to Sierra Leone, 25th November-1st December, 1961: A Record in Words and Pictures", Sierra Leone. Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Ministry of Information, p. 64, 1962
  51. ^ "Royal Visit to Sierra Leone, 25th November-1st December, 1961: A Record in Words and Pictures", Sierra Leone. Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Ministry of Information, p. 61, 1962
  52. ^ "Sierra Leone - Government and society". Britannica. Retrieved 22 February 2021.