Cloud of colonialism hangs over Queen Elizabeth’s legacy in Africa
Queen Elizabeth II looks into the camera, pauses and then extends a hand through the lens. The image is frozen. It’s a rare moment that combines the monarch’s ceremonial duties, yet also serves as a reminder that she is an avid collector of material culture, from the latest fashion, to the latest fashion item.
The “Crown Jewels” series which was first introduced by a young Prince Charles in his first official royal tour of the African continent in 1981 is a great example of the queen’s love for and commitment to Africa. Throughout her reign, the monarchy has consistently offered significant support to the continent’s well-being.
The Queen’s role in Africa’s development is especially significant with regard to her ongoing role as host of the Commonwealth Heads of Governments Summit (CHOGM), a major international meeting that will take place in London on 16-17 June 2014. While in London, the Queen will meet with the heads of state and governments from across the Commonwealth. Her visit to West Africa is an opportunity to deepen the Commonwealth’s support for Africa through a series of meetings in which the Queen of the Cape will preside.
“The Commonwealth has been very clear that what unites us is a shared concern about the challenges and development challenges facing our members, and that they will always have a place at our table,” said the Queen in a press release.
The Queen has not visited Ghana in a long time, since her visit to the country in March 2000 in her capacity as queen to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Ghana’s independence. Since then, she has only visited for short periods of time, such as during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Summit held in Edinburgh in 2004 where she was accompanied by King Edward VII and in 2011 when she travelled to Cape Town, Africa’s most cosmopolitan city.
The Queen has taken a keen interest in the continent and has consistently been raising her concern about its development. Her meeting with Ghanaian President John Mahama last December has been noted by international media as her first major international contact with the African nation for a long time.