A Commonwealth realm is a country in the Commonwealth of Nations which has Queen Elizabeth II as monarch. It includes her home country of the United Kingdom and many of its former colonies or territories, including:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- New Zealand
- Papua New Guinea
- Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Saint Lucia
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- Solomon Islands
In each of the countries outside the UK, the Queen appoints a Governor-General to represent her, who, after consulting with the government of the realm, has all of the powers and duties of the queen. Usually the Governor-General signs all acts of parliament into law, but can wait and ask the Queen for advice or wait for her to sign the act herself. This happened in 1982 when Queen Elizabeth signed the important Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms during a visit to Ottawa, and the Australia Act 1986 in Canberra.
Although Queen Elizabeth II is monarch of many countries, the British government has no power in the other realms, just as the governments of the other realms have no power in the UK. This is why each realm decides on the Queen's official title. Usually it is "Queen of (realm) and Her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth". But two countries mention the UK in their title for the Queen: Grenada uses "Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Grenada and Her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth", while Canada uses the old fashioned form, which reads "by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom, Canada and Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith." Not all countries use the title Defender of the Faith.
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