Talk:Commonwealth realm

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Intro wording[edit]

@Poohpooh817: @DrKay: I've tried to have a compromise in the intro so we don't get into a larger edit war here. Let me know what you think. I tried to strike the balance between noting that Elizabeth II is the common sovereign but also noting that the realms are independent, so it is not right to say that the Sovereign of the United Kingdom is Queen of Canada (or any other realm) from a legal perspective. They are in personal union in the person of Elizabeth II, not the institution of the British crown, and DrKay is definitely right on this, but noting that the concept is not tied only to Elizabeth II is also true. TonyBallioni (talk) 05:31, 6 December 2016 (UTC)

@Poohpooh817: would a reference to the House of Windsor be acceptable rather than to the U.K.? This would be historically true since the Windsors have been the royal house of the Commonwealth realms since the Statute of Westminster 1931, and would avoid the unnecessary possibility of confusion over whether the Queen is Queen of her various realms because of her status as monarch of the United Kingdom. TonyBallioni (talk) 07:29, 6 December 2016 (UTC)
Theoretically, the concept of "Commonwealth realm" is not limited to the house of Windsor. The dynasty can change in the future. In addition, theoretically, a non-Commonwealth-realm kingdom that is a member of the Commonwealth may choose another member of the house as its monarch. I believe the current wording is correct and will not cause any confusion.--Poohpooh817 (talk) 07:50, 6 December 2016 (UTC)
The United Kingdom at some future point could abolish the monarchy and the reigning sovereign at that time would not cease to be Queen of Canada or Queen of Belize or any of the other realms because of an act of the Parliament of the United Kingdim. She would remain their sovereign unless they abolished the crown in the manner fitting to each of their constitutional orders. I don't even think the House of Windsor but is nevcedary, but I do see your objection to my wording so think that something like "share as their common monarch the head of the House of Windsor." Could work because it is undoubtedly just as true, and doesn't have any mention of the U.K., which as Danlaycock pointed out is undue weight to one realm even though that realm could abolish the crown without legally affecting the status of the others. TonyBallioni (talk) 14:13, 6 December 2016 (UTC)
Agreed that TonyBallioni's wording is a big improvement. Poohpooh817's version could be rewritten with "sovereign of _____" where the blank is filled by any one of 16 states. Arbitrarily cherrypicking one is WP:UNDUE. TDL (talk) 13:18, 6 December 2016 (UTC)
The blank cannot be filled by any realm other than the UK. Other Commonwealth realms may anytime choose to be a Commonwealth realm. The abolishment of the UK's monarchy is not supposed. In this sense, the UK is special among the realms, which is the only country where the Queen practices by herself as head of state, not through a governor-general.--Poohpooh817 (talk) 16:37, 6 December 2016 (UTC) - Sorry, I meant "Other Commonwealth realms may anytime choose to cease to be a Commonwealth realm." --Poohpooh817 (talk) 04:33, 7 December 2016 (UTC)
The UK could actually abolish their monarchy much more easily than some of the Commonwealth realms. It only takes an act of Parliament there. Canada requires the more stringent of the constitutional amendment procedures. I'm unaware of the other realm's constitutional requirements, but I am sure they are varied. The UK is unique in that it is the oldest of the Commonwealth realms, but the Commonwealth realms are united in personal union by agreeing to share the same person as monarch and abide by the same rules of succession. That the monarch resides in the UK does not affect her legal status as independent sovereign of each of the sixteen countries. The fact that the UK might have more popular support for retaining the crown is of little consequence to the fact that the Queen is legally as Canadian as she is Australian as she is Belizean as she is Jamaican as she is British, and ignores the fact that each of these countries, including the United Kingdom, choose to be in personal union with one another and could at any point independently of the other choose to cease being so. The United Kingdom is no different in this regard. TonyBallioni (talk) 17:12, 6 December 2016 (UTC)
It would be impossible to transition the UK from a monarchy to a republic with just an act of parliament. Most of the British state falls under the Crown, so parliament would effectively be all that is left of the UK. Everything else would need to be reformed with a new legal embodiment, effectively forming a new state.
It's not true that the UK is indifferent from every other commonwealth realm. The UK Parliament dictates the rules of secession, which all other realms follow. Theoretically, they don't need to follow the UK rules, but they always have. So the UK is special in some sense. It's not undue weight to say that the other realms' monarch is the monarch of the UK, maybe slightly misleading since legally there is nothing saying so, but the UK is de facto the lead realm.
Also, the Queen herself is only British. Not that it matters, she could be any nationality, and previous monarchs have had nationalities other then English / Scottish / British. The monarch is a person, the living embodiment of the Crown, and the current monarch only has one nationality, albeit not being a citizen of any country.
Rob984 (talk) 22:07, 6 December 2016 (UTC)
The person of the Queen's relationship to the various crowns of the different realms is governed by the various constitutional procedures in each realm. In Canada, she is indeed Queen of Canada because she is Queen of the United Kingdom, because the Parliament of Canada consented to this when it asked for the British North America Act 1867 and the Statute of Westminster 1931 to be included in its constitution when it was patriated in 1981. This was seen when Canada passed the Succession to the Throne Act, 2013. It was merely an act of the Parliament of Canada, not an amendment, because Canadian law designates that the Queen of Canada is the same person as the Queen of the United Kingdom, and has for some time [1]. Canada could amend this at any time through the process in its constitution, but chooses not to.
Australia on the other hand, does maintains its own laws of succession and necessitated the Succession to the Crown Act 2015 which changed the law of Australia to match the laws of the United Kingdom that were amended. To say that Elizabeth II is Queen of Australia because she is Queen of the United Kingdom is false. She is Queen of Australia because Australia agreed to share a common person as monarch and have the same line of succession as the other realms. All that to say: the relationship between the person of the Queen and her realms is very complicated legally. To say she that the realms have share as their monarch the British sovereign oversimplifies the constitutional arrangement of each of the sovereign nations, and gives the UK too much undue weight. The process behind the creation of the commonwealth is described further in the intro and I think keeping the wording as it is now is accurate and a good balance. TonyBallioni (talk) 00:05, 7 December 2016 (UTC)
@Rob984: "UK Parliament dictates the rules of secession, which all other realms follow" - No that's not true. See the wikisource:Statute of Westminster, 1931: "any alteration in the law touching the Succession to the Throne or the Royal Style and Titles shall hereafter require the assent as well of the Parliaments of all the Dominions". The UK isn't special in this regard. TDL (talk) 01:14, 7 December 2016 (UTC)
So the UK Parliament determines the rules of secession, with approval from all realms? The UK unquestionably has a lead role here. And indisputably, the British monarchy is the oldest. To portray the UK as just another realm is disingenuous. Rob984 (talk) 02:39, 7 December 2016 (UTC)
No, the legislation is clear that any changes to the succession laws must be made by consensus of the parliaments of the 16 realms. There is no mention of any "lead role" here, so I'm not quite sure where you're getting that from. This is precisely what happened with the Perth Agreement. Consensus was reached by the states, and only then was approval sought from the 16 parliaments. I don't dispute that the UK has a purely symbolic lead role, but that's very different from saying that it "dictates the rules of secession". Legally they're all equivalent. The remaining 15 would continue to be commonwealth realms sharing a monarch even if the monarchy of the UK ceased to exist, for example as a result of the dissolution of the UK. Hence the proposed definition was not accurate.
In term's of the "but it's special because it's older" argument, that's as disingenuous as saying Delaware is special and plays a leading role in changes to the US constitution because it's old. TDL (talk) 03:04, 7 December 2016 (UTC)
The UK's special status is that the Commonwealth itself is based on the monarchy of the UK. It does not matter if any other Commonwealth realm abolishes monarchy, but it does if the UK do it. By the way, is it also correct to say "...shares the same person who is the head of the Commonwealth..."?--Poohpooh817 (talk) 04:40, 7 December 2016 (UTC)
Yeah, but Prince Charles wanted to move to Australia as Governor General, the Duke of Windsor was governor of the Bahamas, and the royal family was almost evacuated to Canada during the war. Geography is only incidental to the legal status. Re: head of the commonwealth. In theory this position is not hereditary. It was granted to the person of Elizabeth II. Her heir would need to be regranted it. It will most likely happen, but it isn't guaranteed, and if it didn't happen, it would not affect the heir's status in the realms. Like I said earlier, I think the mentions later in the intro of the history of how the Commonwealth was founded make it clear enough. The UK status really is not special constitutionally (all share her equally) so I think mentioning it in the first sentence is an issue of undue weight. TonyBallioni (talk) 04:49, 7 December 2016 (UTC)
Quickly reading over all the commentary here, Poohpooh's sentiment that the UK dictates anything to the other Commonwealth realms, or is even a primus inter pares in any official or legal capacity is presently unsupported. We would need several sources to support this claim, as it is contradiction to a number of varifiable sources and legal/legislative documents. trackratte (talk) 21:57, 8 January 2017 (UTC)
The act known as "The Succession to the Throne Act, 2013"(Ref ) for the Barbados Parliament alone breaks the idea of "supremacy". On page four it reads "AND WHEREAS the following recital is set out in the preamble to the Statute of Westminster, 1931: “AND WHEREAS it is meet[Sic] and proper to set out by way of preamble to this Act that, inasmuch as the Crown is the symbol of the free association of the members of the British Commonwealth of Nations, and as they are united by a common allegiance to the Crown, it would be in accord with the established constitutional position of all the members of the Commonwealth in relation to one another that any alteration in the law touching the Succession to the Throne or the Royal Style and Titles shall hereafter require the assent as well of the Parliaments of all the Dominions as of the Parliament of the United Kingdom”; AND WHEREAS Her Majesty’s Government of the United Kingdom has caused to be introduced in the Parliament of the United Kingdom a Bill to ensure that succession is not dependent on gender and to end the disqualification arising from marrying a Roman Catholic; ENACTED by the Parliament of Barbados as follows:"
Similar things have been tested like this before. The Caribbean states are supposed to leave the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council and replace it with the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) but many isles can't seem to get it done because HM Loyal Opposition party's across the Caribbean keep stonewalling the process. The UK created the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom which it transitioned to already. The Caribbean nations didn't get automatically moved with it. They remain the largest region still relying on the UK. They remain rooted in this semi-still remaining JCBPC that technically is superseded by the Supreme Court accord UK Parliament. For now the remaining Judicial Committee shares the building where the UK Supreme Court is,but supposedly the JCBPC was wrapping up UK cases already begun under their jurisdiction, and the Caribbean (or other jurisdictions') cases. A fast UK change of Monarchy would likely yield similar results in places that haven't amended their laws.Privy Council's complaint, Reflections on the Privy Council. What is the future for the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council? CaribDigita (talk) 02:43, 9 January 2017 (UTC)


What does the word "respective" do in the first sentence? --Richardson mcphillips (talk) 00:31, 8 January 2017 (UTC)

"Respective" means "belonging or relating separately to each individual item". It points out that the position as head of state in each realm is legally separate and distinct from each of the others. DrKay (talk) 09:55, 8 January 2017 (UTC)

Independence referendums[edit]

Year held Country Yes No Margin of victory(%) No Commonwealth realm, no colony or connection to another country
1961 Southern Cameroons 233,571 (70.5%) 97,741 (29.5%) 135,830 (41%) Yes
Northern Cameroons 97,659 (40%) 146,296 (60%) 48,637 (20%) No
1961 Samoa Western Samoa Trust Territory 29,882 (85.4%) 5,108 (14.6%) 24,774 (70.8%) Yes
1962 Singapore Colony of Singapore 407,048 (98.09%) 7,911 (1.91%) 399,137 (96.18%) Yes
1967  Gibraltar 44 (0.36%) 12,138 (99.64%) 12,072 (99.26%) No
1969  Rhodesia 61,130 (81.01%) 14,327 (18.99%) 46.803 (61%) Yes
1970 Bahrain Bahrain ? ? ? Yes
1973  Northern Ireland 2,187,991 (1.1%) 1,485,852 (98.9%) 585397 (97.8%) No
1980  Quebec 1,485,852 (40.44%) 2,187,991 (59.56%) 702,139 (19.12%) No
1986  Falkland Islands 31 (0.55%) 869 (96.45%) 858 (95.9%) No
1984 Cocos (Keeling) Islands 9 (3.47%) 250 (96.53%) 241 (93.06%) No
1995  Quebec 2,308,360 (49.42%) 2,362,648 (50.58%) 54,288 (0.16%) No
2002  Gibraltar 187 (1.03%) 17,900 (98.97%) 17,713 (97.94%) No
2013  Falkland Islands 3 (0.2%) 1,513 (99.8%) 1,510 (99.6%) No
2014  Scotland 1,617,989 (44.7%) 2,001,926 (55.3%) 383,937 (10.6%) No

Braganza (talk) 19:38, 9 January 2017 (UTC)