The Commonwealth as an Association

I have behind me not only the splendid traditions and the annals of more than a thousand years but the living strength and majesty of the Commonwealth and Empire; of societies old and new; of lands and races different in history and origins but all, by God's Will, united in spirit and in aim.

~ Queen Elizabeth II

The Commonwealth is an institution that has evolved considerably over time. Its roots lie in the history of the British Empire, but the structure and interests of the modern Commonwealth really emerged after the Second World War in the post-colonial period.

While the achievement of independence marked an end to the colonial relationship, it also marked a new beginning – the challenge of political, social and economic development, which became central to the objectives of the Commonwealth as an association. 

The Commonwealth is described as a "family" of nations building on their common heritage in language, culture and education, which enables them to work together in an atmosphere of greater trust and understanding than generally prevails among nations.

All nations of the Commonwealth accept HM Queen Elizabeth II as the symbol of their free association and thus Head of the Commonwealth.

Flags outside the venue for the 6th Commonwealth Youth Forum, Entebbe, Uganda, November 2007.