Is the Commonwealth inconceivable without a monarch?Posted by AlexT - 17/08/09 at 02:08 pm
Just as the Crown was essential to the evolution of the world’s most successful system of governance, the Westminster model, so it has been at the very centre of the long evolution of the Commonwealth.
No one has put The Queen’s personal contribution as Head of the Commonwealth more clearly than did the thirteen year old Australian youth ambassador, Harry White at the opening of the Melbourne Commonwealth Games:
‘Your Majesty, during the past 54 years of your reign you have been the glue that has held us all together in the great Commonwealth of Nations in good times and bad times. The love and great affection that we all hold for you is spread across one third of the world’s population in our Commonwealth.’
Most citizens of the Commonwealth have known no other Head. Only the elderly remember her father the dutiful King George VI, and the immense feeling of sadness that descended on the Commonwealth on his untimely demise.
It is hard to imagine the end of this present reign, but when it comes there will be again great sadness but recognition, not only in the Commonwealth, but across the world, for her lifetime of impeccable service. Indeed it is probable she will give her name to the long post war era.
Attention will inevitably then turn to the Coronation of the King, and incidentally, to the new Prince of Wales. It is inconceivable that at this momentous time, the Heads of Government would even entertain a suggestion that the central and indeed crucial office of the Head of the Commonwealth should rotate among themselves. This would not only be unworkable, it would be unacceptable. Such a Head of the Commonwealth could never be seen to transcend politics and division as the new Sovereign will immediately demonstrate as the constitutional monarch of not one but sixteen diverse countries.
That the Heads of Government will not immediately accept King Charles III is unrealistic. It is as unrealistic as expecting that when the Archbishop invites the Coronation congregation in Westminster Abbey to do homage and service to him, they would actually refuse.
Admittedly there has been a disgraceful and mischievous campaign against him by rogue elements in the British media, two of whom were convicted for their criminal activities. This campaign has centred on the sort of caricature journalism used against his father, and appallingly, even his young sons. But the fact is Prince Charles commands increasing considerable international respect.
At the recent Group of 20 meeting in London he called – and chaired – a crucial and very effective meeting at the highest levels to preserve the world?s rainforests. Participants included the Indonesian President, the World Bank President, the German Chancellor, the Japanese, Italian, Australian, Guyanese, and Norwegian Prime Ministers, the President of the European Union Commission, Hilary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, the British Foreign Secretary and the Brazilian Foreign Minister. At a time when most are thinking of retirement, he works to fund a whole suite of worthy charities, raising close to a quarter of billion dollars annually.
There can be no doubt that as Head of the Commonwealth he will attract increased international standing for this organisation which by its attachment to principle and enforcement of standards is attracting greater international respect.
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