The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 53 countries which work together towards shared goals in democracy and development. The Commonwealth is home to two billion citizens of numerous faiths and ethnicities, over sixty-percent of whom are under the age of 30.
Commonwealth member countries span multiple continents and oceans from Africa (18 countries) to Asia (8 countries), the Americas and the Caribbean (13 countries), Europe (3 countries) and the South Pacific (11 countries).
Her Majesty The Queen is Head of the Commonwealth. 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.
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.
These fifteen Realms are:
1.Antigua and Barbuda
10.Papua New Guinea
11.Saint Kitts and Nevis
13.Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
For background information for Commonwealth media, click here.
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
The Prince of Wales and The Commonwealth
The Prince of Wales has been a proud supporter of the Commonwealth for more than four decades and helps to maintain the Royal Family's strong connection to member countries through official visits, military links and charitable activities.
His Royal Highness has visited 41 of 53 Commonwealth countries to date, many of them on several occasions. Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall has accompanied The Prince on every visit since 2005.
For 40 years The Prince of Wales has sought to identify and address areas of charitable need. Many of the prominent issues The Prince's charitable endeavours have focussed upon, including the environment, youth opportunity and enterprise, are of immediate relevance to the Commonwealth. Several of His Royal Highness's charities have therefore undertaken activities in Commonwealth countries for many years, often in collaboration with local organizations. In addition, The Prince holds a range of patronages.
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
Recent visits to the Commonwealth and Realms:
The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall visited Canada in May 2014 and took part in a service to mark the centenary of World War One and the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown Conference in Prince Edward Island that led to the Confederation of Canada.
India and Sri Lanka, 2013
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 Prince of Wales has accompanied The Queen to CHOGM on two occasions, in Edinburgh, Scotland and Kampala, Uganda.
In a speech made at the opening ceremony of CHOGM in Sri Lanka, The Prince of Wales spoke of his trust that the Commonwealth could bring a "touch of healing" to the world's troubles. A sentiment that holds true today.
You can read HRH’s speech to CHOGM, in full, here.
Papua New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand, 2012
In November 2012, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, marked The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee with a visit to Papua New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand.
Their Royal Highnesses will be returning to Australia and New Zealand in November.