Commonwealth leaders have paid tribute to the life and service of Queen Elizabeth II, whilst they mourn her recent passing after 70 year of reign as Head of the family of nations.
The Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, delivered a heartfelt speech saying the Queen was “a constant presence in our lives” and his compatriots would always “remember and cherish Her Majesty’s wisdom, compassion, and warmth”.
Narendra Modi, India’s Prime Minister, said she would be remembered as “a stalwart of our times” who had “personified dignity and decency in public life”.
The President of Pakistan, Arif Alvi, also joined the Commonwealth in mourning offering his sincere condolences to the Royal Family, the Government, and the people of the United Kingdom.
Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh, sent “heartfelt and deep sympathies” to the British Royal Family and expressed her sorrow at the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
The Bangladeshi President, Mohammad Abdul Hamid, “expressed profound shock and sorrow” and “conveyed deepest sympathy” to the family.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, said flags would fly at half-mast and arrangements would be made for a state memorial service.
“I know that I speak for people across New Zealand in offering our deepest sympathy to members of the royal family at the passing of the Queen,” said Ardern. “To us she was a much-admired and respected monarch, to them she was a mother and grandmother.”
South Africa’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa, shared a statement addressed to the new King, Charles III, expressing his “profound and sincere condolences”.
“Her Majesty was an extraordinary and world-renowned public figure who lived a remarkable life,” Ramaphosa said. “Her life and legacy will be fondly remembered by many around the world. The Queen’s commitment and dedication during her 70 years on the throne remains a noble and virtuous example”.
The President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, remembered the Queen as she brought “elegance, style and sheer joy” to her duties” and kept the Commonwealth “sturdy and true”.
The Prime Minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness, expressed his condolences and said the country would “join our brothers and sisters in the Commonwealth in mourning her passing, and pray for the comfort of the members of her family, and the people of the United Kingdom, as they grieve the loss of their beloved Queen and matriarch.”
Holness also recalled the Queen’s many visits to the island since her coronation in 1953.
“Undoubtedly, she formed a special bond with the people of Jamaica during her reign,” he added. “We are saddened that we will not see her light again, but we will remember her historic reign.”
Finally, the Prime Minister of Australia, Anthony Albanese, paid tribute saying for the past 70 years the Queen has been a “constant, reassuring presence with her compassion, her decency, her commitment to service.”
The Queen’s death has reignited Australia’s monarchy debate, however, Albanese, ruled out a referendum to make the country a republic in his first term.
There has been a swell of republican sentiments elsewhere in the Commonwealth too, as Antigua and Barbuda reiterated intentions to hold a republican referendum – and Jamaica has long signalled its intentions to follow Barbados’ example after the country became a republic in late 2021.
Queen Elizabeth II died aged 96 on the afternoon of 8 September at her Scottish estate, Balmoral.