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The Queen and the Commonwealth: an introduction

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Find out more about The Queen’s role as Head of the Commonwealth

The Queen makes a speech to open the 2011 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth, Western Australia in October 2011.

The Queen makes a speech to open the 2011 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth, Western Australia in October 2011.

This is an important symbolic and unifying role. As Head, Her Majesty personally reinforces the links by which the Commonwealth joins people together from around the world.

Listen to The Queen’s speech on her 21st birthday pledging her devotion to the people of the Commonwealth:

One of the ways of strengthening these connections is through regular Commonwealth visits.

During her reign, The Queen has visited every country in the Commonwealth (with the exception of Cameroon, which joined in 1995 and Rwanda which joined in 2009) and made many repeat visits. One third of The Queen’s total overseas visits are to Commonwealth countries.

View footage of past Commonwealth visits:

The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales and other members of the Royal Family are also regular visitors to the Commonwealth.

The Queen keeps in touch with Commonwealth developments through regular contact with the Commonwealth Secretary-General and his Secretariat. This is the Commonwealth’s central organisation.

Based at Marlborough House in London, the Commonwealth Secretariat co-ordinates many Commonwealth activities. Her Majesty also has regular meetings with Heads of Government from Commonwealth countries.

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