Apart from the United Kingdom, Queen Elisabeth is still the official head of state of some other Commenwealth nations, for example of New Zealand. Queen Elizabeth II is monarch of 16 sovereign states altogether. They are called the Commenwealth Realm. However, in Australia (and similarly in Canada), belonging to this realm, there is an ongoing debate, if the Queen or her Governor-General is the official head of state according to the constitution.
Due to a constitutional reform in 1972, when Ceylon was renamed, Sri Lanka became a republic within the Commonwealth of nations, with a ceremonial president as head of state. (After another reform in 1978 the president became the executive head of state, similar to the French constitutional system.)
Officially, Elizabeth II became Queen of Ceylon already in 1952, when her father, King George VI, died in Sandringham House, though her coronation in London took place in 1953. The first Prime Minister of Ceylon after independence 1947, Don Stephen Senanayake, was one of the 8000 guests taking part in the ceremony.
The monarch's constitutional roles were mostly delegated to the Governor-General of Ceylon, who was appointed on the advice of the Prime Minister. The Governor-General represented the monarch on ceremonial occasions such as the opening of Parliament. The official residence of the Governor-General was the King’s resp. Queen's House, which is a little bit hidden near the clock tower in Colombo Fort, today it’s the President’s House (which is not his office). Between 1947 and 1972, there were four Governors-General who represented the Monarch of Ceylon. The last Governor General of Ceylon, William Goppalawa, became Sri Lanka’s first president 1972-1978.
There was only one official visit of Ceylon’s Monarch. Queen Elisabeth II visited the island 1954 during a lengthy Commonwealth excursion, which started five months after her coronation. Queen Elizabeth opened the first session of the second Parliament of Ceylon. The Queen visited a record-breaking Kandy-Perahera with 140 elephants. She also visited Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa and spent Easter in Nuwara Eliya. In 1981 Queen Elizabeth visited the Republic of Sri Lanka to see the construction of the Victoria Dam.
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