I hope my regular readers, who no doubt fully understand the concept of a personal union, will not take offense at the title or content of this Royalist Rambling. It is partially directed at Commonwealth republicans who blather on about how their various countries are not “independent,” and partly a purely cathartic exercise for myself, given how few of them are actually likely to read it.
Anyhow, with the disclaimer out of the way, I shall commence with the main essay. It is a favorite (and tired) canard of the anti-monarchist Left in Commonwealth countries other than the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to claim that their country, whether it be Canada, Australia, or any other Commonwealth Realm, is not truly independent because it is still subject to the British Monarchy.
The problem with this argument resides primarily in the fact that it is false. The reason anti-monarchists are unable to understand this (assuming that they genuinely do not understand and are not simply feigning incomprehension in order to promote their agenda) seems to be that they are unfamiliar with the mechanics of what is known as a personal union.
A personal union is the condition that exists when two or more separate, independent countries have the same head of state. This typically happens only in monarchies, although the French Republic is currently in about half of a personal union with the Principality of Andorra, a phenomenon too complex and bizarre to explain here, but which I encourage my readers to investigate, if they are not already familiar with it.
In any case, the point is that all partners in a personal union are equal, separate and independent states, and moreover, their monarchs are constitutionally separate, despite being physically the same individual.
What this means for republicans in Australia, for example, is that their country does not share the Monarchy of the United Kingdom (not “England,” please), but rather has its own, separate, independent, and equal Monarchy of Australia, headed by Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, Queen of Australia and Her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth.
As a result, all the Commonwealth Realms are fully independent, with their own monarchies whose powers and associated styles are derived from their respective constitutions and laws, though those Realms are united by the fact that their monarchies are all headed by the same physical individual, Elizabeth Windsor, known by a quirk of constitutional protocol as Queen Elizabeth II in all Her realms, despite the fact that none of those realms in their current form have ever had a Queen Elizabeth I.
To recap: A personal union exists when multiple countries share the same monarch, but their constitutions, laws, and interests remain distinct, and their full sovereignty and independence is preserved. No nation in a personal union is a subject, tributary, protectorate, or any other way an inferior of any other, and no Commonwealth Realm is any way a colony or possession of the United Kingdom (much less England), despite a strong shared heritage of which all Commonwealth Realm subjects ought to be proud.