he Commonwealth of Nations evolved out of the British Empire.
Now it’s one of world’s biggest international organizations,
made up of 54 countries, covering some 2.5 billion people.
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth was instrumental in creating it – and it remains one of her proudest achievements.
So when the Queen’s reign comes to an end, what will the future of the Commonwealth look like?
Philip Murphy is a professor of British and Commonwealth history at the University of London.
”I think perhaps the Commonwealth has historically run its course. And what you’re really seeing now is the ghost of an organization.”
Commonwealth members range from wealthy nations such as Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Canada,
to populous India, as well as tiny Pacific republics such as Nauru.
Supporters see it as a network for fostering international cooperation and trade links,
while promoting democracy and development.
That’s why when Barbados cut its ties with the British monarchy to become a republic in 2021, it was keen to remain part of the Commonwealth.
Others say the organization has become outdated and irrelevant.
“The Commonwealth talks about the importance of promoting democracy, tackling climate change, tackling gender inequality. But the Commonwealth isn’t necessarily a logical framework internationally in which to deal with any of those problems. They don’t stop at the borders of a Commonwealth state.’’
Another question the organization will have to address is who will lead it.
In 2018, Commonwealth leaders agreed that Elizabeth’s son and heir Prince Charles should be her successor although the role is not hereditary.
Barbados-based David Denny is the general secretary for the Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration.
”We have removed the queen of head of state. So I don’t think the Queen should continue or her family should continue to be the head of the Commonwealth. Yes, I believe that there could be some form of linkages, but, to remain as head of the Commonwealth, I think, is a contradiction. I think the time has come for the Commonwealth nations to meet every year or every two years or every three years and elect who must be the head of the Commonwealth. That would be the Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration’s recommendation.”