A forerunner to the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting to be held in Trinidad and Tobabago this weekend was the Imperial Conferences held amongst the dominion Prime Ministers of the British Empire a century earlier.
The Emperor King George V (front, centre) with his prime ministers. Standing (left to right): Walter Monroe (Newfoundland), Gordon Coates (New Zealand), Stanley Bruce (Australia), Barry Hertzog (Union of South Africa), W. T. Cosgrave (Irish Free State). Seated: Stanley Baldwin (United Kingdom), William Lyon Mackenzie King (Canada).
The 1926 Imperial Conference especially was notable as the conference that produced the Balfour Declaration, which established the principle that the dominions are all equal in status, and not subordinate to the United Kingdom.
The conference created the Inter-Imperial Relations Committee, chaired by Arthur Balfour, to look into future constitutional arrangements for the Commonwealth. In the end, the committee rejected the idea of a codified constitution, as espoused by South Africa's former Prime Minister Jan Smuts, but also fell short of endorsing the 'end of empire' espoused by Smuts's arch-rival, Barry Hertzog.