Talk:Head of the Commonwealth

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The title is not vested in the British Crown, and the Commonwealth's members may not agree that Charles, Prince of Wales, should automatically succeed the Queen as Head of the Commonwealth on his accession to the British throne.

This sentence is somewhat misleading, as it is unknown that Charles will actually succeed the Queen on the throne. SYSS Mouse 02:53, 16 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Short of him pre-deceasing his mother, I very much doubt that he will fail to succeed her.
James F. (talk) 02:57, 16 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Much content not relevant to title[edit]

Much of the content of this article is not relevant to the Head of the Commonwealth. Though Queen Elizabeth II happens to be Head of the Commonwealth of Nations as well as Sovereign of the Commonwealth Realms, the one has nothing to do with the other. She could well be Queen of the Realms without being Head of the Commonwealth of Nations, and vice versa. Likewise, when Charles ascends to the Throne he will become King of the Commonwealth Realms, but may not become Head of the Commonwealth of Nations.

I propose that much of the information relating to the Queen's past and present roles as Queen of various Realms be moved elsewhere, and this article stick purely to her role as Head of the Commonwealth. --gbambino 21:00, 25 August 2005 (UTC)

Confusing Intro[edit]

The intro does little to properly explain what the formal title "Head of the Commonwealth" signifies. While the Queen currently holds this title, I am under the impression that other people in the future could hold this title, including future kings or queens. The article should be rewritten to explain first, what the title signifies, what duties it imparts on the holder (if any) and then explain other important details such as the fact that Queen Elizabeth holds it currently and has held it since such and such a date. --Cab88 11:40, 10 June 2006 (UTC)

Head of the Commonwealth's successor[edit]

"The title is not vested in the shared Crown [1] However, the assumption is that the title itself would become extinct were it not held by the shared monarch"

This doesn't make sense, since Elizabeth II isn't monarch of ALL the Commonwealth realms. It also implies that the "core" of the Commonwealth are the ones where she is head of state.

Opening line[edit]

I've 'tweaked' the opening line, so as it conforms to the article title & content. GoodDay 17:35, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

Elizabeth II is Queen of 16 commonwealth realms (equally); my edit reflects this (as do the relating articles). GoodDay 13:22, 26 August 2007 (UTC)

1921 precedent[edit]

I am reasonably sure (and will try to find the ref) that in the tortuous negotiations to try to end the Ango-Irish War, Eamon de Valera put forth a proposal under which Britain and Ireland would be associated in a international organization of which the King would be President -- it was an attempt to satisfy British feelings while keeping Ireland a Republic. This is in essence the role that the British monarch holds today in the Commonwealth, and indeed Eamon O Cuiv (de Valera's grandson and an Irish politician in his own right) has proposed that Ireland return to the Commonwealth on that basis. If I can scrape up the reference, does anyone think it worthy of mention here? --Jfruh (talk) 22:48, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

Definitely. --Gazzster (talk) 11:33, 30 November 2007 (UTC)

Propose deleting othing languages[edit]

I don't think its that important to know the Africaans and French titles for head of the commonwealth - there are of couse a great number of languages used by commonwealth states. YeshuaDavid (talk) 17:26, 23 March 2009 (UTC)

It's important enough to be in the article, but not important enough to be in the introduction. This article ought to be as comprehensive as possible, and that would, preferably, involve a comprehensive list of all languages' renderings.
On a side note, Afrikaans and French ARE notably different to most other languages, as they are official parts of the monarch's style in other countries in which the monarch is sovereign. Why is that important? Non-realms are not necessarily required to have a separate language version of 'Head of the Commonwealth'. However, Canada has to have a French language version and South Africa had to have an Afrikaans version. Excluding the added fact that South Africa was instrumental in formulating the title, and that French is used officially in more Commonwealth countries than any language except English (six, whereas I believe only Swahili, SiSwati, Sotho, and Hindi are also official in more than one, although I stand to be corrected). Bastin 10:52, 22 March 2009 (UTC)

Gone with that and made it a seperate section. If anyone can add more about the languages, it would be appreciated, I know very little about it myself. Thanks, YeshuaDavid (talk) 17:26, 23 March 2009 (UTC)


The article presently states: "The title is not vested in the Crown as shared amongst the Commonwealth realms." This seems an odd claim, given that the title is granted to the monarch by law in sixteen countries. Also, the London Declaration recognises "The King as the symbol of the free association of its independent member nations and as such the Head of the Commonwealth"; Elizabeth II inherited the title from her father without question or debate. Why then the claim that the title will not pass to Elizabeth's heir? --Ħ MIESIANIACAL 18:30, 10 March 2010 (UTC)

The reasons are that things have moved on a lot since the London declaration the best part of a century ago; the fact that the Queen is head of state in 16 stats has no legal bearing on her title as head of the Commonwealth. Its as simple as this - when she dies, there will be no head of the Commonwealth until (or if, a big IF) all member states agree to a new Head of the Commonwealth. One cannot say "The Head of the Commonwealth is Dead; Long live the Head of the Commonwealth". That's not the way it works here. (talk) 13:43, 4 June 2011 (UTC)
Do you have a single source for those claims? Such as an amendment or retraction of the London Declaration, if that is one of the things that "have moved on a lot"? --Ħ MIESIANIACAL 00:12, 21 January 2012 (UTC)

Maori title[edit]

The article says that the Maori phrase for "Head of the Commonwealth" is Upoko o Nga Herenga ki Ingarangi. Now, I don't speak Maori, but I do know that Ingarangi is the Maori word for England. So the literal meaning of the phrase is presumably "Head of the Commonwealth and of England", or some such. Given that a) the position is not related to the Queen's functions in Britain, and that b) there is no English monarchy (only a British monarchy), this could do with being corrected. Is anyone fluent enough in Maori to be sure what the correct phrase should be? Aridd (talk) 11:33, 29 May 2011 (UTC)

Well don in spoting that; I doubt the veracity of the claim that that is in any way an official translation. But, alas, I don't speak Maori. (talk) 13:44, 4 June 2011 (UTC)

The article is misleading as to who is the Head of the Commonwealth[edit]

This is what the Commonwealth website says:

  • Who is Head of the Commonwealth?

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II * Who will be the next Head of the Commonwealth? The Queen is Head of the Commonwealth in a personal capacity and the position is not an inherited one. It will be up to the Commonwealth Heads of Government to decide what they want to do about this symbolic role.

Yet the article contains some nonsense that the person who is "monarch of the Commonwealth realms" (as if (a) it related to an Office ; and (b) as if the phoney term "monarch of the Commonwealth realms" had some official status. This is plain nonsense; QE2 is Head of the Commonwealth in a purely personal capacity, plain and simple. As per the Commonwealth's own website. (talk) 21:34, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

The London Declaration states quite clearly: "The King [is] the symbol of the free association of its independent member nations and as such the Head of the Commonwealth." As far as can be discerned, that has never changed; hence, Elizabeth inherited the position immediately upon the death of her father; there was no Commonwealth conference called to pick a new head when George VI passed. Also, the title "Head of the Commonwealth" is bestowed upon the sovereign of sixteen states by their respective domestic laws; note: the title isn't just Elizabeth's, it will pass to her heir upon their accession to the thrones of the Commonwealth realms. I don't know where the Commonwealth Secretariat got this "the position is not an inherited one" idea from. --Ħ MIESIANIACAL 02:11, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
The London Declaration does indeed state that the office is bestowed on the King, i.e. George VI. So, the office was personal to him. If it was combined with the office of British monarch the correct form is "the King and his heirs and successors according to law". That formula was not followed, and so the office is not inherited and Elizabeth's position is a personal one. From memory, I think this was agreed at one of the early CHOGMs. Apparently, she became Head because Nehru agreed to it at the time (India was the only republic in the Commonwealth at her accession).[1][2] DrKiernan (talk) 22:44, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
And yet, the London Declaration also doesn't say the office was bestowed on George VI, specifically; it simply says "the King". In Commonwealth realms law, "the King" (as well as "the Queen", "the Crown", "His Majesty", "Her Majesty", and so on) means the reigning sovereign.
I'm not saying the Commonwealth Secretariat is necessarily wrong when stating the Queen's successor won't automatically become Head of the Commonwealth; I just don't see undeniable proof they're right. It's too odd that it's possible the next sovereign of the Commonwealth realms will be titled "Head of the Commonwealth" while not actually being Head of the Commonwealth. --Ħ MIESIANIACAL 04:20, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
The press is currently reporting that CHOGM is considering a resolution that would make the office hereditary, which implies that it isn't already. The article should have a section on this issue of succession, including a referenced statement of how the office passed from G6 to E2. --BlueMoonlet (t/c) 11:30, 11 November 2013 (UTC)

Anglophiles would not like a title change...[edit]

...I am sure. This one has me torn. In a global context, "Head of Commonwealth" is confusing, because it could technically refer to the heads of any republic or state that styles itself a Commonwealth. There are a few such entities outside the British Commonwealth. However, I do not think any of them use an official title "Head of the Commonwealth." So, to avoid confusion, do we change the primary reference to "Head of the British Commonwealth," or continue to use the unique-to-the-British-Commonwealth name of "Head of the Commonwealth?" Dovid (talk) 13:13, 4 June 2013 (UTC)

The title, in law, in "Head of the Commonwealth". --Ħ MIESIANIACAL 16:50, 4 June 2013 (UTC)
AFAIK this is the only actual position whose title is "Head of the Commonwealth." I live in a different commonwealth, and we would never use that title to refer to our governor. Hot Stop 21:42, 4 June 2013 (UTC)

Next Head of the Commonwealth[edit]

In the last paragraph of the top section, it reads that Prince Charles is "overwhelmingly likely" to be the next Head of the Commonwealth. However, the source does not support that. The source only says that the Queen seeks to make the role hereditary, and it remains to be seen that the Commonwealth would agree to that. It also mentions that the Commonwealth countries can choose the next head.--Joshua Talk to me What I've done? 12:28, 20 April 2015 (UTC)

Don McKinnon discusses this in his book "In the Ring" on his time as Sec-Gen of the Commonwealth. It's essentially already been agreed that Charles will become head of the Commonwealth; there is agreement between the heads of govt of the Commonwealth that they will meet shortly after the end of the Queen's reign to confirm this. --LJ Holden 21:44, 21 April 2015 (UTC)

The official transition of the title has been speculated about for years, and an official report is to be presented to the Heads of Government Council at their summit in April of 2018. At 92, she's desirous of a retirement of some sort, and with the leaking of existence of secret negotiations on the subject a week or so ago, the question of whether or not Chuck should start now or whenever Mummy kicks off has already started a raucous debate. Not only that, it seems that Prince Harry has been offered an official job, and perhaps Wills as well.

With little Prince George only five or six, it's within the realm of possibility that QE2 will die of old age and a couple of years later a King Charles III might die of old age as well. If then, god forbid, King William V dies in an accident or is forced to abdicate, would an eleven year old George VII be Head of the Commonwealth? These are real questions and are going to be a topic of the report to be submitted to the April summit. Just a head's up. Arglebargle79 (talk) 19:47, 18 February 2018 (UTC)


I see now the edit summary was "Pre-Elizabeth II accession proclamation"; not "See Elizabeth II accession proclamation". Scratch my response in my edit summary, then. Instead: EIIR's accession proclamations are a red herring. George VI became Head of the Commonwealth after the Balfour Declaration and the Statute of Westminster; indeed, those two documents are the origins of the Commonwealth itself. He thus was, at that time, not only "of the United Kingdom", but also "of" Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Ceylon, and Pakistan. --Ħ MIESIANIACAL 23:29, 26 October 2015 (UTC)

The sentence reads... "The title was created for...", meaning the very moment before it was created, George VI was "King of the United Kingdom... the British Dominions.." He couldn't have been given the new title, if he already had it. GoodDay (talk) 04:44, 27 October 2015 (UTC)
Um, okay. But your point isn't clear. --Ħ MIESIANIACAL 05:01, 27 October 2015 (UTC)
His title wasn't already Head of the Commonwealth, when the title was bestowed on him. This is the reason I inserted "...of the United Kingdom" into the sentence, among other reasons. GoodDay (talk) 05:07, 27 October 2015 (UTC)
Him not having a title before he got it is a statement of the obvious. What still isn't obvious is why you keep saying it. The point is: George VI was, before and after he possessed the title Head of the Commonwealth, king of more countries than the UK, which you acknowledge in your edit here, a change from before. The question now, then, is: does it need to be said in this article what countries George VI was king of? If yes, then maybe there actually needs to be more explanation of what the Commonwealth was pre-1949 and George's relationship to India before it became a republic. --Ħ MIESIANIACAL 06:03, 27 October 2015 (UTC)
I've expanded on that in the history section, as the lede is supposed to be only a summary. --Ħ MIESIANIACAL 06:14, 27 October 2015 (UTC)
Probably no need to say "of the United Kingdom" or "King" for that matter, as its clear we talking about the King of the UK, not the King of Greece. Like to mention too that the British Commonwealth was not created on a specific date, but was the name that came to replace "British Empire."[3] In the list of Heads, I think we should start with Elizabeth II at her coronation, since she became the first person to hold the title. Obviously Elizabeth I was head of the Empire and Elizabeth II became head of the Commonwealth before the title was created. But when the one became the other is a matter of speculation. TFD (talk) 02:27, 30 October 2015 (UTC)
It isn't obvious at all. Elizabeth I didn't actually HAVE an empire, and the only colony, so to speak, was Ireland. The Headship of the Commonwealth was created in 1949, when George VI was still very much alive. Arglebargle79 (talk) 19:17, 18 February 2018 (UTC)