- Queen Elizabeth II
National monarchies in the Commonwealth
There are 21 Commonwealth countries which have a monarch as their head of state: 16 of these are realms with Queen Elizabeth II as head of state, whilst five (Brunei Darussalam, Lesotho, Malaysia, Swaziland and Tonga) have their own national monarchies:
The monarch of Brunei Darussalam is the Sultan, Paduka Seri Baginda Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin. He is the head of state and government — as well as being prime minister, defence minister, finance minister and the head of Islam in the country. Brunei is a hereditary monarchy, with the Sultan’s family line dating back to the 14th Century.
The Kingdom of Lesotho has a constitutional monarchy, of which the current monarch is King Letsie III. The monarch is head of state. Succession is elective and ratified by the College of Chiefs. The king, along with the chiefs, nominates 11 of the 33 members of the non-elected Senate.
Malaysia is a parliamentary democracy with a federal constitutional monarch, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, as head of state. This monarch is chosen for a five year term from among their own number by the nine hereditary rulers of Peninsular Malaysia. The current monarch is The Yang Di-Pertuan Agong XIV Tuanku Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah ibni al-Marhum Sultan Badlishah.
The Kingdom of Swaziland, as according to the 2006 constitution, has a monarchy with executive powers. Succession is both hereditary and elective. The monarch appoints the prime minister, approves cabinet, vetoes legislation and dissolve parliament — though he cannot rule by decree. The current monarch is King Mswati III.
The Kingdom of Tonga is a hereditary constitutional monarchy under the 2010 constitution. Succession is through the descendants of 19th century King Siaosi Tupou I with a preference for male heirs. The current monarch is King Tupou VI.
Queen Elizabeth II and 16 monarchies
The Commonwealth is also home to all 16 of the Commonwealth realms. Following independence from the UK, these former British colonies have chosen to retain constitutional relationships and the tradition of having the Queen as head of state. Aside from the United Kingdom, there are 15 Commonwealth realms in existence today: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Belize, Barbados, Canada, Grenada, Jamaica, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu.