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This fact was correct when it was created on 20 Jan 2022

What is the Commonwealth?

The Commonwealth of Nations, also known as the Commonwealth, is a voluntary grouping of 54 countries, nearly all of which were formerly part of the British Empire. This is no longer a requirement, however – both Rwanda and Mozambique have joined relatively recently.

All Commonwealth members are committed to shared values and principles set out in the Commonwealth Charter. They work together on shared goals such as development and democracy.Every four years, the Commonwealth Games – often referred to as the ‘Family Games’ – take place bringing together athletes from all member states to compete.

The Queen is the head of the Commonwealth, and she is also head of state for some members. But it is perfectly possible, as Barbados has just done, to remove the Queen as head of state but stay a member of the Commonwealth.

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