The Commonwealth is an association of 54 independent and equal sovereign states from Africa, Asia, The Americas, Europe and the Pacific. The countries in the association join the Commonwealth on a voluntary basis, and represent many different ethnicities and faiths. Each member is committed to upholding shared values and principles to protect and promote Democracy, Human Rights, the Rule of Law and Equality for all citizens in accordance with the Commonwealth Charter.
Leaders from member countries help to shape Commonwealth policies and priorities. Every 2 years they meet at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). All members have an equal say regardless of size or wealth, meaning that even the smallest countries have a voice.
The modern Commonwealth draws relevance and strength in its network of diaspora, cultural and sporting links. There is also widespread use of a common language and strong, shared legal heritage.
The Monarchy and the Commonwealth
The Queen has been Head of the Commonwealth throughout her 60 year reign. 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.
Watch 'A Celebration for Commonwealth Day' in full here
Throughout Her Majesty’s reign, the Commonwealth has grown from just eight nations to 54 members representing two billion people. During this time, The Queen has played a unique part as a symbol of unity and strength at the heart of the Commonwealth.
During her reign, The Queen has undertaken more than 200 visits to Commonwealth countries and visited every country of the Commonwealth (with the exception of Cameroon, which joined in 1995 and Rwanda which joined in 2009) as well as making many repeat visits. One third of The Queen's overseas visits are to Commonwealth countries.
Learn more about the vital role of the Monarchy and the Commonwealth nations here:
The Commonwealth Anthem
The Commonwealth Anthem Performed by: Commonwealth Children’s Choir Band of the Coldstream Guards
Conducted by Lieutenant Colonel Simon Haw MBE
Executive Producer: Sally Shebe
Recorded in the Guard’s Chapel on 20 May 2016 by Abbey Road Studios.