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The British Commonwealth becomes  the Commonwealth



In 1948 the Commonwealth could have denied the newly independent India, which wished to remain but becomea republic. But this was likely to have led to the exclusion of many, if not all, of the new Commonwealth countries that might wish to follow India. In other words, the Commonwealth would have become principally a white man's club. So that all of the members agreed that India could continue as a member, even as a republic.

This procedure was followed until 2007 whenever a Realm became a republic. ( A Realm is a Commonwealth country which recognizes The Queen as its Sovereign or monarch.)India  accepted "the King as the symbol of the free association of its independent member state and as such the head of the Commonwealth". And on the death of King George VI, his daughter, QueenElizabeth II, was by common consent, proclaimed "Head of the Commonwealth".

All of the old dominions, with the exception of South Africa, have remained in the Commonwealth as realms, with Elizabeth II as Queen, and so have twelve other former colonies. These, with the UK, number sixteen. Another six member states have national monarchies: Brunei, Lesotho, Malaysia, Swaziland, Tonga and Western Samoa. The remainder — all "new" Commonwealth states — are republics.

 

 

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