... pallbearers carry coffin of Queen Elizabeth II into St Giles Cathedral, September 12, 2022, Edinburgh, Scotland
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announces, 19 September 2022, as a National Day of Mourning, to commemorate the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, Canada's head of state
At the time of this writing, Nova Scotia, N.B., P.E.I. and Newfoundland and Labrador announced they will join the federal government by declaring 19 September as a provincial holiday as well
On Sunday the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II arrived in Edinburgh, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, after a six-hour journey from her summer home at Balmoral in the Scottish Highlands.
Hundreds and hundreds of mourners lined the route of the solemn procession.
The journey from Balmoral was the first in a series of events that will culminate in a state funeral at Westminster Abbey in London on Monday the 19th of September.
The Queen's coffin will be flown from Edinburgh to London.
The late Queen will first journey to Buckingham Palace for a night, before being transported to Westminster Hall on Wednesday, where many well-wishers have been queueing for the opportunity to bid farewell to Britain's longest-serving sovereign.
Queen Elizabeth II will lie in state inside the UK Parliament's Westminster Hall for four days, from Wednesday until Monday.
The Queen's English oak closed coffin will rest on a raised platform, draped with the Royal Standard flag, with the Imperial State Crown and the Sovereign's orb and sceptre laid on top.
The public can visit 24 hours a day to pay their respects.
Queen Elizabeth II will be buried next to her husband of more than 70 years, Prince Philip, in St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle.
The burial complex at Windsor Castle is the final resting place of the Queen's father, King George; mother, Queen Elizabeth; her sister, Princess Margaret, as well as, her husband, Prince Philip.
... mourners queue, with iconic Tower Bridge in background, to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth II, London, 16th September 2022
The sovereign is the head of state, and as such, reigns, but does not rule
Few of those living today throughout the Commonwealth Realm and the Commonwealth of Nations, have until the heart-wrenching events of the last few days, known any other Head of State or leader of the Commonwealth, save, Queen Elizabeth II.
And now the torch, the mantle of sovereign authority, has been passed to her heir, her son, the Prince of Wales, King Charles III ...
In addition, since 1689, when the power to pass legislation devolved to an elected Parliament, Britain became a constitutional monarchy, and further the sovereign's authority devolved to reserve powers, also known as, prerogative powers, or personal prerogatives.
Sovereign authority includes, although rarely invoked, the authority to summon Parliament, and the routine responsibility to give royal assent to bills passed by Parliament. Notably, the king or queen can remove a prime minister who will not resign, despite losing the confidence of Parliament's House of Commons. Although no sovereign has exercised the sovereign right to do so for more than 200 years,
This was the nature of the approaching constitutional crisis surrounding the former prime minister.
The sovereign is head of state of the United Kingdom, and as such, reigns, but does not, rule.
Ruling, as it were, is the realm of the sovereign's government, and as head of state in the United Kingdom, the sovereign is obliged constitutionally to follow the advice of the government. The main functions as head of state are to appoint the Prime Minister, and all the other ministers; to open new sessions of parliament; and to give royal assent to bills passed by parliament, signifying that they have become law. The sovereign chairs monthly meetings of the Privy Council, to approve Orders in Council; receives incoming and outgoing ambassadors; makes a host of other appointments, such as senior judges, but in all matters the sovereign acts on the advice and consent of the government.
There are weekly audiences with the Prime Minister, and the sovereign receives daily boxes of state papers for signature, and for information purposes. And, has regular meetings with senior officials as well as representations that span the broad spectrum of British government, civil society, and beyond.
The royal assent to bills is considered granted automatically, when they have passed both Houses of Parliament, and any summoning is done typically on the advice of ministers, advice that is expected to be followed by the sovereign.
The sovereign also undertakes a vast array of ceremonial responsibilities, including not infrequent visits to member nations of the Realm and Commonwealth.
It is this role that we will delve into in the next segment.
The Commonwealth Realm & the Commonwealth of Nations
The sun never sets on the Commonwealth Realm and the Commonwealth of Nations, and thus, the sovereign plays a role in world affairs.
A Commonwealth Realm country has the sovereign as its Monarch and titular head of state.
At the time of her accession in 1952, Elizabeth became the monarch and head of state of seven independent states: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan, and Ceylon, now Sri Lanka.
New realms have been created, while other realms have become republics. Barbados is the most recent realm to become a republic, on the 30th of November 2021.
Today, there are 15 Commonwealth realms, namely, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Belize, Canada, Grenada, Jamaica, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, and naturally the United Kingdom.
The Commonwealth Realms are all members of the Commonwealth of Nations, an intergovernmental organisation of 56 independent member states, 52 of which were formerly part of the British Empire.
All the Commonwealth Realm and Commonwealth of Nations member countries are independent sovereign states.