Sovereignty

The Queen wearing the Robe of State
This photograph of the Queen shows her wearing the Robe of State as worn at her coronation and the collar of the Order of the Garter - the oldest (1348) and most prestigious chivalric order in the Queen’s gift. On the table is the Imperial State Crown and the Sword of State - symbols of sovereignty. The predominant colours are scarlet and gold - often associated with monarchy. The use of scarlet relates back to Old Testament times where it was renowned for its durability and strength. Gold needs no further explanation. Sir Ninian Stephen (Vic) is one of the 26 Companions of the Order of the Garter, two of whom are the Sovereign herself and her eldest son.

Sovereignty is the supreme and ultimate Authority in society and is held by the monarch (aka Sovereign) on behalf of the people. By declaring an oath of loyalty to the Monarch one declares it through him or her to the people. One cannot reasonably declare an oath to ‘the Australian people’ as the term has no sense. There is no unified ‘Australian people’ - it is a mass of disparate individuals but the monarch as Sovereign represents all these different peoples in a secure guardianship and provides the absolute authority needed to ensure the continuity of governance. The Monarch is Sovereign for life, is a-political and ensures continuously that the people have freedom to choose who in effect governs them. All justice is carried out and laws put in place in the name of the monarch. The very existence of a Sovereign who observes and protects from a distance ensures our ultimate freedom to choose who governs us (and who does not), to justice, to law and to rights agreed by parliament. No politician can change this arrangement however much he might wish to.

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Preceding page: The Queen addresses the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth, October 2011. Her Majesty is wearing the insignia of the Order of Australia of which she is Sovereign and the Governor-General, Chancellor. It is traditional for the Sovereign, who is Head of the Commonwealth, to address the biennial meeting, to meet all heads of government and to ensure that everyone is interacting with everyone else in a friendly and productive manner. Because the Queen is not political she can more easily defuse potential problems between individuals and groups and has been known to have actively encouraged parties to talk together and reach agreement.