Commitment to Commonwealth 'unwavering'

Queen Elizabeth II Image copyright EPA

As she stood on the makeshift stage in the Buckingham Palace forecourt, the Queen might have been tempted to reflect on one of the benefits of longevity.

Her commitment to the Commonwealth has been unwavering; that of her ministers, in the past, less so.

Take Ted Heath. For him, in the 1970s, the Common Market trumped the Commonwealth.

Other prime ministers have been wary of a loose affiliation of nations that battled against apartheid in South Africa but which have, sometimes, struggled to uphold principles of accountability and respect for human rights.

But post-Brexit, the club of 52 countries is taking on greater significance for the UK government.

The Commonwealth makes up a relatively small part of UK trade. As we leave the European Union, Number 10 wants to increase exports to these countries.

Where the baton is headed over the next 388 days, will British goods, in greater numbers, one day follow?

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