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Monday, June 5, 2023

celebrating King's Birthday today !!

Today is celebrated as  King’s Birthday !! –  where is the monarch ie., the King in the countries that celebrate this day ? and if it is reference to King Charles, today is not his birthday either   !!  Charles III (Charles Philip Arthur George) who ascended the British throne was bron on 14 November 1948.

As King Charles III ascended the British throne on May 6, one of his Commonwealth realms - New Zealand -  hinted at its wish to be a republic.     Apart from New Zealand, King Charles III is the monarch and head of state for fourteen sovereign countries, collectively known as the Commonwealth realms — Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Belize, Canada, Grenada, Jamaica, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and the United Kingdom (UK). 

                      Fortunately India which once was a British colony, is a Sovereign Democratic Republic and not a commonwealth REalm.

           The Commonwealth was an evolutionary outgrowth of the British Empire. Contemporaneous with its shedding of mercantilist philosophy, the empire began implementing “responsible government”—i.e., a system under which the governor could act in domestic matters only upon the advice of ministers enjoying the confidence of the elected chamber   The Commonwealth consists of both Republics and Realms.  The British monarch is the Head of State for the realms, whereas the republics are ruled by elected governments except in the case of five countries — Brunei Darussalam, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malaysia, and Tonga — each a self-governed monarchy.

A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state that has Charles III as its monarch and head of state. Charles succeeded his mother, Elizabeth II, as monarch of the Commonwealth realms immediately upon her death on 8 September 2022 though the ceremony took place only in May 2023.  As of 2023, there are 15 Commonwealth realms:   All are members of the Commonwealth of Nations, an intergovernmental organisation of 56 independent member states, 52 of which were formerly part of the British Empire. Charles III is also Head of the Commonwealth, a non-constitutional role.

The King's Official Birthday (alternatively the Queen's Official Birthday when the monarch is female) is the selected day in most Commonwealth realms on which the birthday of the monarch is officially celebrated in those countries. It does not necessarily correspond to the date of the monarch's actual birth.

The sovereign's birthday was first officially marked in the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1748, for King George II. Since then, the date of the king or queen's birthday has been determined throughout the British Empire and, later, the Commonwealth of Nations, either by royal proclamations issued by the sovereign or viceroy, or by statute laws passed by the local parliament.

The date of the celebration today varies as adopted by each country and is generally set around the end of May or start of June, to coincide with a higher probability of fine weather in the Northern Hemisphere for outdoor ceremonies. In most cases, it is an official public holiday, sometimes aligning with the celebration of other events. Most Commonwealth realms release a Birthday Honours list at this time.

Before 1937, New Zealand celebrated the actual birthday of the sovereign. After George VI ascended to the throne, with his birthday falling on 14 December, there were discussions to celebrate an official birthday on 9 June. The Sovereign’s Birthday Observance Act 1937 set the official birthday to be the first Monday in June (which it has been to this day), and this was first observed in 1937.  This year is the first time,  New Zealand observes the King's Birthday for Charles III.  There have been proposals, with some political support,  to replace the holiday with Matariki (Māori New Year) as an official holiday. In 2022, the Te Kāhui o Matariki Public Holiday Act declared Matariki as an official holiday separate from the Queen's Birthday,  making said proposals obsolete.  

George II ( 1683 - 1760) was King of Great Britain and Ireland, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg (Hanover) and a prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire. Born and brought up in northern Germany, George  was among the  British monarchs born outside Great Britain. The Act of Settlement 1701 and the Acts of Union 1707 positioned his grandmother Sophia of Hanover and her Protestant descendants to inherit the British throne.  As king from 1727, George exercised little control over British domestic policy, which was largely controlled by the Parliament of Great Britain.  He had a difficult relationship with his eldest son, Frederick, who supported the parliamentary opposition.    

For two centuries after George II's death, history tended to view him with disdain, concentrating on his mistresses, short temper, and boorishness.  

After India gained its independence in 1947, the Nation  decided to abolish the monarchy as the form of government and establish itself as a republic. At a meeting of Commonwealth heads of government in London in April 1949, it was decided that India could maintain membership if it accepted the British crown as only “the symbol of the free association” of Commonwealth members. India announced its intention to become a republic in 1949 !  - History records that   Mountbatten decided  to give India dominion status while the nation worked on its constitution  .. .. and fortunately, India is not celebrating the King’s birthday.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
5th June 2023. 

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