What is the Commonwealth, which countries is King Charles III head of state for - what role will he play?

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Prince Charles was named king after his mother Queen Elizabeth II passed away at the age of 96 on Thursday.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II died at her Balmoral Castle residence in Scotland on Thursday, leading to Prince Charles being named king.

King Charles III’s wife, the Duchess of Cornwall Camilla Parker Bowles, has also been named as the Queen Consort.

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The nation’s longest-reigning monarch passed away at the age of 96 alongside close family.

It was confirmed following a statement issued by Buckingham Palace, which read: “The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon. The King and the Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening before returning to London tomorrow (Friday).”

With King Charles III the new head of state for the United Kingdom, this also means that he is in power over 14 countries that are included the Commonwealth - but which ones?

Here is everything you need to know.

What is the Commonwealth?

His Majesty, King Charles IIIHis Majesty, King Charles III
His Majesty, King Charles III | Getty Images

The Commonwealth, which has been a part of international relations for over 100 years, is an association of 54 different countries and territories.

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First established in 1887, the organisation allows each member to work towards shared goals of prosperity, democracy and peace.

It was agreed in a conference in 1926 that they would all be equal members of a community within the British Empire, pledging allegiance to the King or Queen.

This does not mean that the United Kingdom rules over any participating Commonwealth countries.

The purpose of the Commonwealth involves the coordination of the following:

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  • Protecting the environment
  • Develop society and young people
  • Supporting democracy
  • Boosting trade links
  • Support small states

Which countries are a part of the Commonwealth?

The 54 nations and territories of the Commonwealth come from each corner of the globe .

The Maldives is the latest nation to rejoin in 2022 after initially leaving the Commonwealth in 2016.

Here is a full list of all the Commonwealth countries:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • Bahamas
  • Bangladesh
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Botswana
  • Brunei Darussalam
  • Cameroon
  • Canada
  • Cyprus
  • Dominica
  • eSwatini
  • Fiji
  • Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • India
  • Jamaica
  • Kenya
  • Kiribati
  • Lesotho
  • Malawi
  • Malaysia
  • Maldives
  • Malta
  • Mauritius
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Nauru
  • New Zealand
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Rwanda
  • Saint Lucia
  • Samoa
  • Seychelles
  • Sierra Leone
  • Singapore
  • Solomon Islands
  • South Africa
  • Sri Lanka
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Vincent and The Grenadines
  • Tanzania
  • Tonga
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Tuvalu
  • Uganda
  • United Kingdom
  • Vanuatu

Which Commonwealth countries is King Charles III head of state for?

Due to British colonialism, which saw the British Empire conquer regions across the world, King Charles is now the monarch and head of state of the UK and 14 other countries, also known as Commonwealth realms which are as follows:

  • Antigua and Bermunda
  • Australia
  • The Bahamas
  • Belize
  • Canada
  • Grenada
  • Jamaica
  • New Zealand
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Saints Kitts and Nevis
  • Saint Lucia
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Solomon Islands
  • Tuvalu

What role will King Charles III play in the Commonwealth?

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King Charles III has become the main Sovereign 14 Commonwealth realms on top of the United Kingdom, meaning he has become the Head of the Commonwealth.

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Explaining the role that he will play in the association, a royal spokesperson said: “One of the ways of strengthening these connections is through regular Commonwealth visits.

“During his reign, The King will visit every country in the Commonwealth and make many repeat visits. One third of The Queen’s total overseas visits [during her reign] were to Commonwealth countries.”

They added: “The King will keep in touch with Commonwealth developments through regular contact with the Commonwealth Secretary General and her Secretariat. This is the Commonwealth’s central organisation.

“Based in London, it co-ordinates many Commonwealth activities. His Majesty will also have regular meetings with Heads of Government from Commonwealth countries.”

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