In addition to the United Kingdom, The Queen is Head of State of fifteen other countries. In these countries, which are often referred to as ‘Realms’, the constitutional functions of the Crown are exercised on the advice of local ministers by Vice-Regal representatives known variously as Governors-General, Governors and Lieutenant-Governors. The Queen has a different title in each of the Realms, for example, Queen of Tuvalu, Queen of Barbados and Queen of Saint Lucia.
The Prince of Wales has been an active supporter of the Commonwealth for over 40 years.
Together with The Duchess of Cornwall, His Royal Highness shows his support through official visits, military links, charitable activities and other special events such as the opening of the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India.
The Prince has visited 41 Commonwealth countries, many of them on several occasions.
In November 2013, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall undertook a nine day visit to India before moving onto Sri Lanka where The Prince represented Her Majesty The Queen at the 2013 Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting (CHOGM).
In November 2009, The Prince, accompanied by The Duchess, visited Canada on an extensive 12 day visit. Their Royal Highnesses also carried out a five-day tour of Canada in May 2012 in celebration of the Diamond Jubilee.
The Prince is passionate about helping the people of the Commonwealth, and through The Prince's Charities is able to do so through the organisations which work in the areas of opportunity and enterprise, education, the built environment, and responsible business.
Realms and Commonwealth timelineView interactive timeline
The Prince and The Duchess in India at the Commonwealth Games
The Prince and The Duchess meet the Maasai in Tanzania
The Prince of Wales in Canada
The Duchess of Cornwall in Canada
The Prince and Duchess meet Australian singer Kylie Minogue
The Duchess of Cornwall in South Africa
In a speech made at the opening of 2013 CHOGM in Sri Lanka, The Prince of Wales spoke of his trust in the Commonwealth to bring a "touch of healing" to the world's troubles:
"Ladies and gentlemen, each one of us is here because of the hope and trust we place in the Commonwealth to bring that 'touch of healing' to our troubles and deliver the very best future for our people."
"Her Majesty's deep affection for the Commonwealth, and the special importance she has attached to it throughout her reign, are well known to you all.
"If I may say so, those very sentiments have been an ever-present cornerstone in my own life also." Read the speech in full here
The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 53 countries which support each other and work together towards shared goals in democracy and development. The Commonwealth is home to two billion citizens of all faiths and ethnicities – over half of whom are under the age of 25.
Commonwealth member countries span six continents and oceans from Africa (18 countries) to Asia (8 countries), the Americas (2 countries), the Caribbean (12 countries), Europe (3 countries) and the South Pacific (10 countries).
Her Majesty The Queen is Head of the Commonwealth and has been since 1952. The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, like all Members of the Royal Family, maintain especially close links with the countries of the Commonwealth.
The fifteen other Realms are:
1.Antigua and Barbuda
10.Papua New Guinea
11.Saint Kitts and Nevis
13.Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
The Prince of Wales is, therefore, the Heir to the Throne in 16 countries. We have lots of videos on The Royal Channel on YouTube - visit our playlist.
Their Royal Highnesses host a pre-tour reception for India and Sri Lanka
The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall host a reception for British-Caribbean communities
Royal Tour 2011: Kwazulu Natal, South Africa
The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall attend a Canadian Citizenship Ceremony in New Brunswick
Royal Tour: The Prince and The Duchess meet inspiring disabled craftspeople
Diamond Jubilee: Kylie Minogue speaks about The Prince and The Duchess's upcoming visit to Australia
The Prince’s Charities
Much of The Prince’s charitable work and areas of focus, including the environment, youth opportunity and enterprise, are extremely relevant in the Commonwealth today. In addition, many of His Royal Highness’s own Charities and Patronages have, at The Prince’s behest, a longstanding engagement in Commonwealth countries. Wherever possible, in his official travel through the Commonwealth, The Prince of Wales seeks to support the work of his Charities in supporting local efforts. Following are just some examples of the engagement of The Prince’s Charities throughout the Commonwealth.
The Prince’s Foundation for Building Community is working on urban development projects in Jamaica and Sierra Leone, whilst The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts is working with residents practising traditional crafts in Jamaica and with tapestry weavers in Australia. The Prince’s Foundation for Children and the Arts is working with the Royal Conservatory of Music in Canada (of which The Prince of Wales is Patron) to support arts education in schools, whilst Prince’s Charities Canada works with a Canadian affiliate of The Prince’s Youth Business International (which is linked to youth business programmes in 12 Commonwealth countries) to support military personnel making the transition to civilian life.
The Prince of Wales is also the President of The British Asian Trust, which he established in 2007, to assist British Asians in supporting high impact charities working in the areas of education, enterprise and health in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the UK. The International Business Leader’s Forum works closely with business leaders to support disadvantaged communities in India, Pakistan and Malaysia, whilst the Business and Sustainability Programme has annual conferences in Australia and South Africa.
British Communities with Commonwealth links
Their Royal Highnesses often host and attend engagements celebrating Commonwealth communities in the United Kingdom.
In April 2010 The Prince celebrated the contribution of British Asians, with links to Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, made to the worlds of entertainment, sport and business at a dinner in St. James’s Palace.
In July 2011 The Prince of Wales hosted a reception to celebrate the contribution British Nigerians, Sierra Leonians, Ghanians and Gambians make to United Kingdom.
Official Travel to the Realms and the Commonwealth
The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall’s most recent visit was to a Realm was to Canada in May 2014, when they were invited to visit by the Canadian government and undertook three days of engagements which celebrated Canadian achievements past and future.
In 2012, Their Royal Highnesses visited Canada on behalf of The Queen to mark Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee.
During a previous visit to Canada in November 2009 The Prince and The Duchess visited Dundurn Castle in Hamilton, Ontario, home of Her Royal Highness’s great-great-great-grandfather, Sir Allan Napier MacNab, a former Prime Minister of Canada.
In November 2012, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall visited Papua New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand, which will be the final overseas visit by the Members of the Royal Family to mark The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
In November 2013, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall undertook a nine day visit to India before moving onto Sri Lanka where The Prince represented Her Majesty The Queen at the 2013 Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting (CHOGM). The Queen has been accompanied by The Prince of Wales on two occasions, The CHOGMs in Edinburgh and Kampala in Uganda. For further information read the press release from Buckingham Palace.