PM Douglas to propose toast to Queen Elizabeth on behalf of the Commonwealth

St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas about to be received by Her Majesty The Queen at Buckingham Palace during CHOGM 2011 in London.

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, JUNE 5TH 2012 (CUOPM) – St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas will propose a toast to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second on Wednesday in her capacity as Head of the 53-member Commonwealth of Nations.

Prime Minister Douglas, who has been attending several Diamond Jubilee events on the invitation of Her Majesty over the past few days, has been invited to propose the toast in his capacity as the most senior Head of Government at the Jubilee Luncheon for Her Majesty at Marlborough House to mark her Diamond Jubilee.

Her Majesty the Queen will be accompanied by His Royal Highness, the Duke of York. She will be invited by the Commonwealth Secretary General, His Excellency Mr. Kenneth Sharma to view a gift from the Commonwealth in the garden.

According to the Commonwealth Secretariat website, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II became Head of the Commonwealth when she acceded to the throne in 1952.

The Queen has laid much importance on her role as Head of the Commonwealth. In her annual Christmas Day broadcast in 1953 she said: “The Commonwealth bears no resemblance to the empires of the past. It is an entirely new conception built on the highest qualities of the spirit of man: friendship, loyalty, and the desire for freedom and peace.”

She added: “To that new conception of an equal partnership of nations and races I shall give myself heart and soul every day of my life.”

Nearly 60 years later, in her 2011 Christmas message, Her Majesty continued to speak of that partnership of nations as “always looking to the future, with a sense of camaraderie, warmth and mutual respect, while still maintaining their individualism.”

St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas (right) receives a gift from His Royal Highness Prince Edward who recently visited the Federation as part of his mother’s Diamond Jubilee Celebrations. Princess Sophie looks on.

“The Commonwealth is a family of 54 nations, all with a common bond, shared beliefs, mutual values and goals,” the Queen maintains.

“It is this which makes the Commonwealth a family of people in the truest sense, at ease with each other, enjoying its shared history and ever ready and willing to support its members in the most dire of circumstances.”

The Queen’s role as Head of the Commonwealth includes, by developing tradition, a number of symbolic functions.

She keeps in touch with Commonwealth developments through regular contact with the Commonwealth Secretary-General and the Commonwealth Secretariat.

She also visits Commonwealth countries -including the host country of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, which is held every two years – meeting the people as well as Commonwealth leaders.

The Queen commemorates Commonwealth Day, held on the second Monday of March every year, with a message. She is present during the day’s events, which includes the Commonwealth Day Observance, the UK’s largest multi-faith service, as well as the Commonwealth Secretary-General’s reception, held at the Commonwealth Secretariat’s headquarters in London.

The Queen’s heir will not automatically become Head of the Commonwealth. It will be up to the Commonwealth Heads of Government to decide what they want to do about this symbolic role.

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