Queen Elizabeth
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Queen Elizabeth greeting schoolchildren in Launceston during a visit to Australia on March 29, 2000. Photo: AFP

LettersQueen Elizabeth was the strength and stay of the Commonwealth

  • Readers discuss Queen Elizabeth’s diplomatic role within the Commonwealth and the intense level of media attention her death has received
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The spectacular farewell for Britain’s Queen Elizabeth was an expression of the greatest qualities of a constitutional monarchy as a system of government, and the transcendent human virtues consistently embodied by the queen throughout a life dedicated to the service of others.
Those were values appreciated by Hongkongers during the royal visits of 1975 and 1986. The queen’s iconic visits to grass-roots locales including the vegetable vendors of Graham Street Market and the residents of public housing estates in Kowloon are embedded into the collective memory.

The melancholy felt throughout the Commonwealth and beyond reflects a widespread respect for the queen, and the incontrovertible truth that just as Prince Philip was the queen’s strength and stay, so too was the queen the strength and stay of the entire Commonwealth, which is now bequeathed to this new Carolean age.

Queen Elizabeth adroitly navigated substantial geopolitical obstacles in building the Commonwealth. On multiple occasions, she pursued Commonwealth interests despite opposition from British ministers. These include taking a trip to Ghana in the 1960s to persuade president Kwame Nkrumah to embrace the Commonwealth instead of the USSR, and conferring super-plenipotentiary status upon the Commonwealth secretary general to overrule attempts to exclude the position from diplomatic gatherings.

It is to the eternal credit of the queen, as the most experienced statesman in history, that the Commonwealth has been preserved and grown despite the folly of Britain wasting almost 50 years ignoring the world in favour of an insular focus on the European Union.

Notwithstanding the naysayers who have questioned the value and purpose of the Commonwealth, its vitality is reflected in its status as a growing organisation. Beginning with eight members at the beginning of Queen Elizabeth’s reign, today’s Commonwealth now boasts 56 members and counting, with the recent addition of Gabon and Togo at this year’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Rwanda.

Fittingly, the new joiners and the meeting’s host, together with Mozambique, have no historic links to the British Empire. This augurs well for the future of the Commonwealth now headed by King Charles, and is the ultimate testament to Queen Elizabeth’s vision of the Commonwealth as a force for good based on the voluntary association of nations committed to sovereign and racial equality.

To the blessed and glorious memory of the first-ever platinum queen, who set the platinum standard for monarchy and the Commonwealth: thank you, Your Majesty.

Nicholas Tam, council member, Royal Commonwealth Society, Hong Kong Branch

Non-stop coverage of the queen is blatant news bias

I refer to the article, “Britain and the world bid farewell to Queen Elizabeth as state funeral marks end of era” (September 19).

So much very important news, notably worldly suffering and tragedy, has been overridden and omitted to make available as much newsprint and broadcast time as possible for the passing of Queen Elizabeth.

With all due respect, she’s one person, however beloved and special to many people. Am I the only news consumer troubled by this clear inequity in news coverage? Every time I turn to Canada’s national CBC news channel, day or night, it is various forms of this.

A renowned newsman once justly noted the imbalance of the Western world’s news coverage: A hundred Pakistanis going off a mountain in a bus make less of a story than three Englishmen drowning in the Thames.”

Frank Sterle Jnr, British Columbia, Canada