Why is Queen Elizabeth head of state of Canada?

Unless you’re living under a rock all this time, you probably know that Elizabeth II is the Queen of England and the United Kingdom.

But do you know that Queen Elizabeth II is the official head of state of Canada too? Not only is she the head of state of United Kingdom and Canada, she is also the head of state of 13 other independent nations around the world.

Elizabeth II is the official head of state for 16 independent nations, known as the “Commonwealth realms”. Some of these countries include Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, and The Bahamas. Aside from these independent countries, Elizabeth II also rules over the three Crown Dependencies and the 14 British Overseas Territories (Yes, eat your heart out, Cersei Lannister.).

The Crown in Canada was first established in the 16th century by the kings of France. Organized as a royal province of France, French and British kings and queens have ruled over Canada since 1534. Under Canada’s sovereigns, the nation has evolved to an independent nation.

Each of the independent countries separately and independently designated Elizabeth II (and her royal line) as their country’s head of state. Think of it this way: the 16 countries just chose the same family as their monarchs. The queen has no actual decision-making powers in these countries, and the British parliament has no authority over the governments there. In Canada, the governor general, the queen’s representative carries out most of her royal governmental and ceremonial duties.

Her official title in Canada is: “Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom, Canada and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.”

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