Is there anyone in the world who has known as many international leaders as the Queen? Theresa May might be her 13th prime minister, but that pales into numerical insignificance when one adds up all the Commonwealth leaders she has met. In the independent realms where she is, or has been, head of state she has racked up almost 180 prime ministers. Even that number is dwarfed when you consider all the other presidents, chiefs, generals and autocrats from the Commonwealth’s 53 member states. Along the way she has encountered generations of Trudeaus, Bandaranaikes, Kenyattas and Nehru-Gandhis, among others.
Also Read: What Next For The Commonwealth?
Standing at the center of the global order, the United States has, over the last quarter century, reoriented the way the world—and especially the world’s elite—works, plays, and thinks. It has brought them into an international hierarchy in which gaining status requires succeeding within U.S.-centered networks and playing by U.S. rules. And it makes twenty-first century America more powerful than any empire, kingdom, or commonwealth in history.
She is venerated around the world. She has outlasted 12 US presidents. She stands for stability and order. But her kingdom is in turmoil, and her subjects are in denial that her reign will ever end. That’s why the palace has a plan.
THE biggest achievement of the Commonwealth, its admirers say, is the fact of its unlikely existence. That so many former British colonies and dominions should be content to co-exist in a club which has the queen as its head is remarkable.
The departure of Gambia and the fight over the Sri Lankan summit reveal how weak Commonwealth institutions have become. The secretariat is accused of actively dodging any politically sensitive issue, and its reticence to speak out means that the Commonwealth suffers from a very low public profile. A 2009 poll in seven countries showed than only a third of people could identify what the Commonwealth does.