Queen Elizabeth II died Thursday at the age of 96 after ruling over England for 70 years, the second-longest serving monarch in history. But it wasn’t just England where she served as head of state. Here we take a look at how the United Kingdom has changed over the years when it comes to the monarchy.
In early 2022, the second Caribbean island removed the Queen of England as its head of state in short succession. Jamaica started the process of naming a new head of state. This is according to information published by the Independent during an ongoing visit by the Duke and Duchess of Windsor to the country, which was met with hostilities. William and Kate were greeted by protesters demanding reparations and apologies for slavery upon their arrival in Jamaica in March.
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Earlier, in November 2021, Barbados had officially become a Republic, removing Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state and replacing her with a figurehead president during national day celebrations. Jamaica would also become a republic, the report said, and like Barbados would cease to be a constitutional monarchy under the British Commonwealth as stipulated by having the Queen of England as a head of state.
Barbados removed the Queen after 55 years as an independent Commonwealth member, while Jamaica celebrates its 60th year of independence in August of 2022. Barbados was the first country in almost 30 years to drop the queen. Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago as well as Dominica had previously removed the English monarch as their head of state.
In addition to British Overseas Territories, the Queen of England serves as the head of state of 14 sovereign countries other than her own – making the UK the most prolific among the world’s 17 constitutional monarchies which keep employing monarchs as representative heads of state.
Around the globe, there are also still a dozen countries which are absolute or semi-constitutional monarchies, meaning that monarchs yield considerable powers there. These types of systems are most common today on the Arabian Peninsula, even though Morocco, Brunei, Eswatini and Liechtenstein also count among them. Semi-constitutionalism – where monarchs and elected representatives share powers – ranges from countries which let monarchs retain some powers next to an elected parliament to so-called elective monarchies, which elect leaders from a group of royals – the governing system of the United Arab Emirates. The Pope is also elected from a group of cardinals, but he is the singular ruler over the Vatican, therefore considered an absolute monarchy.
Ten countries in Europe and five in Asia as well as Tonga and Lesotho retain their own monarch in a representative function and as head of state. Traditional subnational monarchies are prolific in Indonesia and South Africa, where the king of the Zulu nation, Misuzulu Sinqobile kaZwelithini, holds considerable informal power in the Eastern region of KwaZulu-Natal.
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Every single king & queen of England from 871 to the present
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