Queen of the Philippines

The Queen of England nearly became Queen of the Philippines

In 1935 the Philippines nearly became part of the British Commonwealth of Nations which would mean Queen Elizabeth II would be Queen of the Philippines.

On the 20th of January 1935 a secret liaison agent working for President Quezon contacted British officials to ask for admission to the British Commonwealth of Nations. This would have meant the Queen of England would also be Queen of the Philippines today.

The British approved the holding of official talks with President Quezon to allow the Philippines to become part of the British Commonwealth.

The Philippines was ruled by the British from 1762 to 1764 after they captured Manila and Cavite from the Spanish, this gave the Philippines the right to be a member of the British Commonwealth.

Why did Quezon want the Philippines to Join the British Commonwealth?

President Quezon was very concerned about a Japanese invasion of the Philippines we now know he was right to be concerned, yet the USA seemed to be doing very little to strengthen the defences of the Philippines, which as we all know led to the Philippines falling into the hands of the Japanese in 1942.

It seemed that Washington regarded the Philippines as a far-flung island in the Pacific that was not significant enough to plough money into defending.

The US refused to guarantee that they would provide a formidable military defence of the Philippines, so Quezon secretly turned to the British whom he believed would put up a better defence if the Philippines were part of the British Commonwealth.

Some articles have made the claim that America was more interested in helping its Ally Britain with the war looming in Europe than protecting the Philippines. This claim does not take into account that America was planning a war against the British Empire. Douglas MacArthur himself planned to use Chemical weapons against Canada that was part of the British Empire. So it is more likely is America was using its resources to build up its strength on the Canadian border, and with Britain’s strength in Asia at the time they probably thought the Philippines would fall into British hands.

Why did the Philippines not join the British Commonwealth?

America discovered that President Quezon had approached the British, so President Roosevelt and other American officials decided that President Quezon must be censured. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Francis B. Sayre received the order from Washington and immediately censured President Quezon, so the secret talks with London about the Philippines joining the the British Commonwealth never happened.

Some Philippines historians believe that the carpet bombing of Manila in WWII was in retaliation to President Quezon’s disloyalty to America, while there could be some truth in this it has never been proven, we do know it was only about 45 years before this that America showed how little regard they had for Filipino people, so maybe it was both these things that played a part.

What would have happened if the Philippines had joined the British Commonwealth

If the Philippines had been accepted into the British Commonwealth quickly King George V would have become the King of the Philippines, however it is unlikely things would have moved that fast and George V died at Sandringham House, Norfolk in January 1936 aged 70.

That means it might have been King Edward VIII that became King of the Philippines, interestingly in 1922 when he was Price of Wales, Edward VIII became the first member of the British Royal family to visit the Philippines. We have to wonder if there was any talk of the Philippines joining the British Commonwealth when he visited, we will probably never know.

However King Edward VIII abdicated in December 1936 and it is unlikely the Philippines would have joined the British Commonwealth that quickly.

King George VI of the Philippines
George VI would have become King of the Philippines

So the most likely first British King of the Philippines would have been King George VI who was also Emperor of India and the first Head of the British Commonwealth.

King George VI died in 1952 and his first child became Queen and today she would be Queen of the Philippines.

How would the Philippines be different today?

Apart from the fact the Philippines could take part in the Commonwealth games and it would probably be less Americanised it is difficult to say in what ways it would be different. British Commonwealth countries vary so much. It would probably have more of its own identity today but that would be down to it being less Americanised.

Also the Philippines media would not need to look so hard to find links between Royal events and the Philippines, as Queen Elizabeth II would be Queen of the Philippines.

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