The 53 member nations of the Commonwealth include 30 per cent of the world's population. Lesotho, Swaziland and Tonga are the only Commonwealth nations with their own king, but Brunei and Malaysia also have a king-like monarch. The smallest member of the Commonwealth is Tuvalu, with a population of 11,000.

The Commonwealth Games began as the Empire Games in 1930. They include netball, lawn bowls and rugby sevens, none of which is in the Olympics. The only teams to have competed at every Commonwealth Games are England, Scotland, Wales, New Zealand, Canada and Australia.

"It is easy enough to define what the Commonwealth is not. Indeed this is quite a popular pastime" - Queen Elizabeth II, speaking in 1977.