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Commonwealth realm

A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state that is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations and shares the same person, currently Elizabeth II, as its head of state and reigning constitutional monarch, but retains a crown legally distinct from the other realms. As of 2017, there are 16 Commonwealth realms: Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Tuvalu, Barbados, Grenada, Solomon Islands, Saint Lucia, The Bahamas, and the United Kingdom.

The Statute of Westminster 1931 provided for the then Dominions—named therein as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Union of South Africa, the Irish Free State, and Newfoundland—to have full or nearly full legislative independence as equal members of the British Commonwealth of Nations, having, together with the United Kingdom, one person as the sovereign of each. Subsequently, India and Pakistan (both in 1947) and Ceylon (in 1948) became Dominions. By the early 1950s, in order to reflect the equality between the countries in that group, each (including the United Kingdom, but not the former Irish Free State and India, which had by that time become republics) came to be known as a "realm". The word was formally used in Britain's proclamation of Elizabeth II as queen in 1952 and was adopted for the modern royal styles and titles under the legislation enacted by the individual countries. The principle was applied to other countries as they became Commonwealth realms, having sovereign status granted directly. The phrase "Commonwealth realm", though used officially, is not a statutory term.


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