Her formal title is “Her Majesty, Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.” She ascended the throne after the death of her father, King George VI on February 6, 1952 and her Coronation followed on June 2, 1953.
Queen Elizabeth II is the world’s only head of state for more than one country – 16 in all. For each of those sovereign states, known as Commonwealth Realms, Her Majesty has her own flag, coat-of-arms and governor-general to represent her authority. The following list includes the countries (in alphabetical order) where she reigns and the year she assumed the throne. The nations where she has a personal flag carry hyperlinks.
• Antigua and Barbuda, 1981.
• Australia, 1952. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queen%27s_Personal_Australian_Flag
• The Bahamas, 1973.
• Barbados, 1966. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queen%27s_Personal_Barbadian_Flag
• Belize, 1981.
• Canada, 1952. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queen%27s_Personal_Canadian_Flag
• Grenada, 1974.
• Jamaica, 1962. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queen%27s_Personal_Jamaican_Flag
• New Zealand, 1952 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queen%27s_Personal_New_Zealand_Flag
• Papua New Guinea, 1975.
• Saint Kitts and Nevis, 1983.
• Saint Lucia, 1982.
• Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, 1979.
• Solomon Islands, 1978.
• Tuvalu, 1978.
• United Kingdom, 1952. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Standard_%28United_Kingdom%29
In states where she doesn’t have a personal flag, her personal cipher flag is flown. It features a crowned gold “E” surrounded by a garland of gold roses on a navy blue field with gold fringe. It was created in 1960 to symbolize her as an individual and first used in 1961 on her visit to India. It is also used when she visits countries where she is not head of state.
Since her coronation, Elizabeth II also has relinquished the title of head of state in 17 countries as the British Empire continued to dissolve after World War II. They include Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), Fiji, The Gambia, Ghana, Guyana, Kenya, Malawi, Malta, Mauritius, Nigeria, Pakistan, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanganyika (now Tanzania), Trinidad and Tobago, and Uganda.
A total of 53 countries – mostly past and present British colonies – belong to the Commonwealth of Nations headed by Elizabeth II. It has its own flag (shown above). Unlike the old Empire, the Commonwealth of Nations is a voluntary association of nations with a shared history through the Crown that agree to uphold democracy, human rights, good governance, the rule of law, individual liberty, egalitarianism, free trade, multilateralism, and world peace.
Following her death (or abdication), the flags of her successor – either Prince Charles or his eldest son, Prince William – may change to reflect a new King. Others in the royal family will move up in succession and receive new flags as well.
Elizabeth II has been awarded 47 permanent Commonwealth Honors from Commonwealth Countries with four titles held for a short time such as Lady, Order of the Garter, Privy Counsellor, Member of the Imperial Order of the Crown of India, and Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem.
In addition, she has been awarded 18 individual awards from Commonwealth Countries such as the Award of Honor of Dominica, the Collar of the Order of Merit of Malta, and the Order of the Golden Heart of Kenya.
As Queen of England, Elizabeth II has also been awarded 72 honors from other countries, including the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit from Peru, the Badr Chain of Saudi Arabia, Grand Cordon of the Order of the Leopard of Zaire, and the Knight Grand Band of the Order of the Pioneers of the Republic of Liberia.
The Queen fulfills her commander-in-chief functions with 58 past and present military ranks and commissions in Great Britain such as Commander-in-chief of the British Armed Forces (present), Colonel-in-chief of the Royal Malta Artillery (past), Colonel-in-chief of the Duke of Lancaster’s Own Yeomanry (present), Colonel of the Grenadier Guards (past), and Lord High Admiral of the British Navy (present).
She performs military duties in other Commonwealth countries, including Australia (7), Canada (22), New Zealand (9), South Africa (5), Ghana (1) and Fiji (1), for a total of 45 past and present military commissions.
As Queen, she has accepted the honors of numerous societies, colleges and municipalities, including two from the United States – Philadelphia’s Freedom of the City honor and an honorary admiralty from Nebraska.
Additionally, Her Majesty has been awarded five Honorary Doctorates in Civil Law, Music and Law from the Universities of Oxford, Wales, Edinburgh and London along with an Honorary Bachelor of Music degree from the University of London.