By David Atangana
Queen Elizabeth II, the 13th monarch, and head of state of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland died on the afternoon of 8 September 2022 according to a statement from Buckingham palace obtained by MMI.
She died peacefully at Balmoral Castle, Scotland surrounded by members of her family.
The United Kingdom shares long-standing diplomatic relations with the Republic of Cameroon principally based on their historical past.
History has it on records that English-speaking Northwest and Southwest regions (formerly British Southern Cameroons) were a former UK trust territory before Unification with a dominant French-speaking Cameroun in 1961 after a UN Organised plebiscite.
Queen Elizabeth II was already on the throne when Southern Cameroons reunited with French Cameroon.
Commentators say the relationship between the two countries has so far been one-sided if diplomatic friendship is judged by the number of visits exchanged by leaders.
The two presidents (all of French background) that have to date ruled Cameroon and most of her prime ministers have been to the UK but mostly UK junior cabinet ministers have visited Cameroon in return.
Cameroon’s first president Ahmadu Ahidjo visited Britain in 1963 following reunification two years earlier.
Maurice Foley, then Undersecretary of State at the UK Foreign and Commonwealth office, visited Cameroon in May 1969, followed by Lady Tweedsmuir, Minister of State at Foreign Office, in January 1973.
But it was never envisaged at any moment that the British Monarch or the British Prime Minister should visit Cameroon and no Secretary of State (Senior minister) went before 1984
In 1982, Mr. Paul Biya took over from Ahidjo as president.
By this time Queen Elizabeth was still the reigning monarch.
Paul Biya took the diplomatic ties between the two countries to another level.
First, Cameroon received Prince Charles (King Charles III), son of the Queen into the country in 1990 for a three-day visit.
Under Mr. Biya Cameroon became a member of the Commonwealth in 1995, something that did not happen under President Ahidjo.
The British monarch is head of the Organisation and was noted for touring member countries.
In 2004 President Paul Biya paid an official visit to the UK and was received at Buckingham palace by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Like in the Ahidjo era, most British officials who visited Cameroon were junior foreign ministers.
Despite Cameroon being a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Queen during her reign visited all Commonwealth member countries and other realms except Cameroon and the three most recently joined member states, Rwanda, Togo and Gabon.
This has further raised fundamental questions as to whether Cameroon is actually a member of the Commonwealth in practice.
These questions were further escalated by the fact that Cameroon’s president, despite leading a Bilingual country, chose French to address his letter of condolence to King Charles III instead of English, which is the official language of the United Kingdom.
Mimi Mefo Info