Main content
This programme is not currently available on BBC iPlayer

The Queen: Her Commonwealth Story

George Alagiah explores the history of Queen Elizabeth II and the Commonwealth, learning about moments of triumph, diplomacy, challenge and political intrigue.

George Alagiah explores the fascinating history of Queen Elizabeth II and her beloved Commonwealth. Walking in her footsteps, he discovers how the role of heading this family of nations has affected the Queen as she grew and developed, both as a monarch and as a person.

His journey starts in Tonga, one of the furthest-flung stops on the Queen's first Commonwealth tour in 1953, where he meets Princess Pilolevu, granddaughter of the Queen of Tonga who welcomed the 27-year-old Queen Elizabeth II so warmly all those years ago.

From there, George's own Commonwealth tour takes him to Australia, Ghana, India and South Africa. In each country he discovers how the shy young Queen grew into a monarch who commands respect, exploring moments of triumph, diplomacy, challenge and political intrigue. Gathering testimony from people who have met the Queen across the years and from experts who have followed her fascinating journey, George builds a picture of how deftly the Queen has played her unique role as head of the Commonwealth, through a passage of history that has seen some Commonwealth nations going through difficult and tumultuous times.

Her daughter Princess Anne talks about the queen's role as a woman in a male-dominated world, and the much-deployed royal walkabout. Other interviewees include former Australian prime minister Bob Hawke, the second Commonwealth secretary-general Sir Sonny Ramphal, former private secretary to the Queen Sir William Heseltine and South African politician Mamphela Ramphele.

59 minutes

Last on

Thu 12 Apr 2018 00:15


Role Contributor
Presenter George Alagiah
Interviewed Guest Princess Anne
Interviewed Guest Bob Hawke
Interviewed Guest Sonny Ramphal
Interviewed Guest William Heseltine
Interviewed Guest Mamphela Ramphele
Executive Producer Jo Roe
Director Minoo Bhatia