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Queen of the Gambia

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Queen of The Gambia
StyleHer Majesty
Formation18 February 1965
Abolition24 April 1970

Elizabeth II was Queen of The Gambia from 1965 to 1970, when the Gambia was an independent sovereign state and a constitutional monarchy within the Commonwealth of Nations.[1][2] She was also the monarch of the other Commonwealth realms, including the United Kingdom. Her constitutional roles in the Gambia were delegated to the governor-general.


A 1966 Gambian four-shilling coin depicting the Queen of The Gambia

The Gambia was granted independence in 1965 under the Gambia Independence Act 1964 of Parliament of the United Kingdom, which transformed the Gambia Colony and Protectorate into an independent sovereign state, with Queen Elizabeth II as the head of state and Queen of the Gambia. The Duke of Kent, accompanied by the Duchess of Kent, represented the Queen of the Gambia at the independence celebrations.[3] The Duke opened the first session of the Gambian Parliament, on behalf of the Queen, and gave the speech from the throne on 18 February.[4]

External videos
video icon The Gambia: First Parliament Opened N Bathurst by Duke of Kent. (1965)
Source: British Pathé.

The Queen's constitutional roles were mostly delegated to the Governor-General of the Gambia, her representative in the Gambia, who was appointed by the Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister of the Gambia. The Governor-General acted on the advice of the Gambian ministers.[5] Two governors-general held office: Sir John Paul (1965–1966), and Sir Farimang Mamadi Singateh (1966–1970).

The monarchial form of government was protected under an "entrenched" provision of the Gambian constitution. Entrenched clauses could only be amended if supported by two-thirds of the elected members of the Gambian parliament, and thereafter confirmed by a two-thirds majority in a referendum.[6] After two referendums on the Gambian monarchy, the first unsuccessful because it did not pass by the necessary two-thirds majority and the second successful, the Gambia adopted a new constitution that abolished the monarchy on 24 April 1970.[2] The Gambia became a republic within the Commonwealth, with the president of the Gambia as head of state.[1]


The Queen said in her Christmas broadcast in 1958, that she and her husband would be visiting the Gambia in late 1959.[7] But later the visit was postponed, as she had become pregnant in 1959.[8]

Queen Elizabeth visited the Gambia on 3–5 December 1961.[9] During the visit, the people of the village of Berending in the Gambia gave the Queen a two-year-old crocodile in a pierced silver biscuit-box as a present for infant Prince Andrew.[10] The Queen's Private Secretary Sir Martin Charteris volunteered to keep it in his bath for the rest of the trip.[11][12]


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

  • 18 February 1965 – 18 June 1965: 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[13][14]
  • 18 June 1965 – 24 April 1970: Elizabeth the Second, Queen of the Gambia and all Her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth[15][16][17]



  1. ^ a b George S. Cuhaj, ed. (2015). "Gambia". 2016 Standard Catalog of World Coins 2001–Date (10th ed.). Krause. p. 538. ISBN 978-1-4402-4410-0.
  2. ^ a b Robert L. Maddex (2008). "The Gambia". Constitutions of the World (3rd ed.). CQ Press. p. 159. ISBN 978-0-87289-556-0.
  3. ^ Hollis Ralph Lynch (1978), Black Africa, Arno Press, p. 94, ISBN 9780405111143
  4. ^ Commonwealth Survey: Volume 11, Central Office of Information, 1965, p. 299
  5. ^ Joseph Henry Price (1977), Political Institutions of West Africa, Hutchinson, p. 94, ISBN 9780091314613
  6. ^ David Perfect (2016), Historical Dictionary of The Gambia, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, p. 99, ISBN 9781442265264
  7. ^ "Christmas Broadcast 1958". The Royal Family. 25 December 1958.
  8. ^ "Queen Elizabeth, Kate Middleton, and the Changing Game of Royal Pregnancy Announcements". Vogue. 12 September 2017.
  9. ^ "Commonwealth visits since 1952". Official website of the British monarchy. Royal Household. Retrieved 8 November 2015.
  10. ^ The Illustrated London News: Volume 239, Issues 6374-6386, 1961, p. 1075
  11. ^ Queen Elizabeth II's Guide to Life
  12. ^ The Elizabeth II Pocket Bible
  13. ^ "No. 39873". The London Gazette (Supplement). 26 May 1953. p. 3023.
  14. ^ "The Gambia: Heads of State: 1965-1970". archontology.org. Retrieved 22 May 2021.
  15. ^ "The Gambia: Heads of State: 1965-1970". archontology.org. Retrieved 22 May 2021.
  16. ^ Royal Style and Titles Act, 1965 (full title: An Act to provide for the alteration of the Royal Style and Titles) is assented 18 Jun 1965 and takes effect on the same date, 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.
  17. ^ The Statesman's Year-Book 1965-66: The One-Volume Encyclopaedia of All Nations, Palgrave Macmillan UK, 2016, p. 54, ISBN 9780230270947