The Number Of Countries Queen Elizabeth Is The Monarch Of Might Surprise You

All eyes are on Queen Elizabeth II at present. She's 95 years old and the longest-reigning monarch in British history (via AP News), but some are worried about Elizabeth's health. The crown has an established line of succession, but adjusting to change after she's ruled for so long may be difficult.

Then there's the matter of just how many countries over which the crown actually reigns. Elizabeth presides over the U.K., but other nations fall under her umbrella by being part of the U.K.'s commonwealth. According to the Commonwealth's website, 54 countries are currently part of her commonwealth, including nations in Africa, Asia, the Pacific, the Americas, and more. This is due to Britain's history with colonialism and imperialism, per Britannica, which ultimately means that these nations never achieved full freedom.

Because of this, who becomes king after Elizabeth dies affects more than those who live on Britain's mainland, and of the 54 countries that fall under the commonwealth umbrella, a certain number of them are technically still ruled by Elizabeth rather than simply remaining commonwealth members.

Queen Elizabeth II's reign reaches more than 10 nations around the world

Queen Elizabeth II is ultimately the presiding monarch over 15 nations, including the U.K. (via The Council on Foreign Relations). The other 14 nations, called Commonwealth Realms per, include Australia, The Bahamas, Belize, Canada, New Zealand, Barbados, St. Lucia, Papa New Guinea, St Christopher and Nevis, Tuvalu, and Grenada.

Elizabeth's continued rule in these nations is important in understanding the history of colonialism, and it's also important to know that her rule isn't permanent. The queen was recently removed as head of state in Barbados, which is a bombshell move for a Commonwealth Realm. In fact, historian Richard Drayton has said that "Barbados could be a tipping point" in the commonwealth, with more countries wanting to claim their full independence from the crown.

This will be harder for some nations than others. Canada, for example, would require constitutional reform if it wished to remove Elizabeth, while other nations might have an easier time. Still, understanding this is important as many don't know the full extent of Elizabeth's reign today. She presides as queen over 15 nations and her commonwealth consists of 54, an astounding number when contemporary history tries to muddle the West's history of imperialism and colonialism.