FOR 30 years the Commonwealth has been linked by close economic ties between its member nations. What else holds the Commonwealth together? The vital bond, said Mackenzie King, one of Canada's most distinguished Prime Ministers, is its "community sense." What the nations share, reasoned New Zealand's late Prime Minister Peter Eraser, is "independence, with something added." To Winston Churchill, the Crown is "the mysterious link, the magic link" that binds its peoples.

No easy phrase can encompass the Commonwealth's diverse but like-minded, vague sounding but specific, loosely linked but powerfully woven partnership of more than 700 million people on six continents....

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