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I think it is somewhat understandable for small territories that are either still dependent on the United Kingdom or are independent but relying economically on the UK, but what about Canada, Belize, Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea? Why do they keep Queen Elizabeth II as their head of state?

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    Partial duplicate: Why do Australians want to remain under British monarchy?. Perhaps this question is too broad?
    – CDJB
    Jul 4 at 11:36
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    There is the possibility of a fundamental misunderstanding in this question. The Queen of Canada, Australia, and others is Queen of those countries, and they are free to determine their own rules of succession. It is not the case that "the British monarch" is head of state in Canada. It happens to be the same person with the same rules of succession, but the office which that person holds is entirely separate. The British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies are in a different relationship to the Crown. Jul 4 at 11:37
  • There are two aspects to the question: Why a monarch (not a president)? and Why Elizabeth II of England? However the answers in each case are similar to the ones already given for Australia.
    – James K
    Jul 4 at 12:15
  • @AndrewLeach although under the Perth agreement the independent laws of succession have been kept aligned while switching to absolute primogeniture (not that the change is likely to matter for quite a while) en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perth_Agreement
    – origimbo
    Jul 4 at 15:09
  • @origimbo While this is true, they didn't have to be. If (say) Canada had declined to agree, then in sixty years time the UK might have a queen and Canada a king, and the Royal Families would have diverged — in much the same way as the personal union of the Crowns of Britain and Hanover was dissolved on the death of William IV. Jul 6 at 14:46
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In part this is tied to the notion of the Commonwealth of Nations. Unlike the US, nations of the Commonwealth gained independence through civil and legal procedures as the British colonial system dissolved. Those nations with long, favorable histories as part of the Empire — like Canada and Australia — largely opted to retain the Queen and the constitutional monarchy system. Other nations — mainly those which were primarily economic colonies, not settlement areas — took on a monarchy-independent republican form of government.

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    Nice. Other than the US, what are examples of former British colonies with a monarchy-independent government? Jul 7 at 17:00
  • @Burt_Harris: I suppose the most notable examples would be India and Kenya. But poke around on Commonwealth of Nations. Jul 7 at 18:11
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    I don’t agree this is directly anything to do with the Commonwealth of Nations. This is just a loose association of countries that were once in the Empire and some are not even monarchies. If Australia left the Commonwealth for example it would have no impact on Australia’s monarchy. The retention of the British Queen has head of state has a much more complex explanation particular to each country and the evolution of their independence from the UK under a merely ceremonial monarch. Aug 3 at 17:31
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Not all countries are the same, and may have different reasons. The reasons given for Australia in this answer are likely to be common across other countries. To summarize:

  • For a lot of people having a Royal family is fun, people like reading about them in magazines, and in that way they're like celebrities.

  • Some people see the Royal family and the links to Britain, as an important part of the country's heritage. "if it ain't broke don't fix it."

  • Countries other than the UK don't pay anything for the Royal family.

  • The monarchy has the ability to remove a government if it's abusing its power and that way they're like an extra safety net for our democracy.

  • The Westminster system has been exported to many countries with success and is no less 'democratic' than Republican models. In the last four years this argument has been even more effective.

  • Republicanism would be more expensive than a monarchy.

  • There are benefits to having a head of state who is not a politician.

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  • This. It's more tradition, pageantry and shucks-who-cares than anything else here in Canada. Seems to be the same in Australia - there's a vocal minority of antis and a large uncaring majority. Support, or at least tolerance, is also based on the current Queen's generally good standing and tendency to stay out of public debates for the most part. Stay tuned when Charles takes over, he's nowhere as popular and has been somewhat fond of inserting his foot into his mouth. Jul 7 at 15:09
  • And Canada has the clearest view of anyone of how bad it can get when your head of state is elected. Jul 7 at 15:16
  • ? Oh, you mean Big Orange One down South? I don't think these are comparable positions at all. Tell you the truth, all this "heads of state" stuff confuses me. You either have strong executive powers or you don't. Rest is too theoretical for me. Queen has zilch actual power here, main reason I don't care. Jul 7 at 15:23

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