Multi-tasking the Queen

On Friday, 14 June, the Guardian reported that David Cameron had done the Canadian prime minister, Stephen Harper, the special favour of arranging for him to “visit the Queen” during his visit to London. The Guardian’s Mr Wintour was apparently unaware that as the head of one of the Queen’s many other governments, Mr Harper needs no help from Mr Cameron to pay a call on his head of state [see].  My letter to the Guardian pointing this out has not been published.

Not to be outdone, an unsigned story in today’s Guardian (17 June), on page 5, reports that at the 2009 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Trinidad “The UK delegation was headed by the Queen, with Prince Philip also in attendance, along with Gordon Brown….”.  No doubt the Canadian delegation was headed by the Queen of Canada, the Australian delegation by the Queen of Australia, and so forth, and the whole shebang was chaired by, er, the Head of the Commonwealth (i.e. the Queen).

The Queen could be forgiven for complaining that she’s expected to be everywhere at once.


2 Responses

  1. Lorna Lloyd says:

    Perhaps these Guardian reporters also still think it is a ‘British Commonwealth’?

    Brian writes: Thanks, Lorna. My guess is that nine tenths of the UK population think it’s the “British” Commonwealth. It doesn’t seem to be a subject taught in schools, regrettably.

  2. Tim Weakley says:

    Brian (and Lorna!) – remind me – when did the Commonwealth cease to be the British Commonwealth?  Or was it ever the latter in popular (British) thought alone?  I ask in all humility and with a failing memory!

    Brian writes: My wife has helpfully drawn attention to the following:
    “The London Declaration was a declaration issued by the governments of the Commonwealth of Nations on the issue of India’s continued membership of the Commonwealth. It was made in London on 28 April 1949, and marked the birth of the modern Commonwealth. The declaration had two main provisions. First, it allowed the Commonwealth to admit and retain members that were not Commonwealth realms, including both republics and indigenous monarchies. Second, it changed the name of the organisation from the ‘British Commonwealth’ to the ‘Commonwealth of Nations’, reflecting the first change.”
    More details, including the origin of the name “British” Commonwealth of Nations instead of British Empire, are at

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