The British monarch is the head of the state of 15 countries, famously known as Commonwealth realm.
The death of Queen Elizabeth Ⅱ last year prompted the Commonwealth nations to rethink the significance of monarchy. More countries are considering abolishing the British monarchy and establishing a republic system. Barbados was the latest Commonwealth country in 28 years to remove the British monarchy and became a republic in 2021.
Before this in 1992, Mauritius removed its monarchy, Guyana dumps the Royal monarchy in 1970 and Trinidad and Tobago became a republic in 1976, and Dominica in 1978. The decision by these small Caribbean countries led various other countries to think in the same way. According to the latest survey conducted by former chairman of the UK’s Conservative party, Lord Ashcroft reveals that at least 6 countries intended to remove the monarchy.
These countries include Australia, Canada, Jamaica, the Bahamas, Solomon Islands, Antigua, and Barbuda. The sentiment of people in Solomon Island for removing the monarchy is very high as 59% favor becoming a republic.
Jamaica and Belize are on the way to removing King Charles Ⅲ as their head of state. Jamaica has planned a referendum next year in 2024 on whether to abandon the British monarchy. Australia could hold a referendum after the first term of PM Anthony Albanese on this matter. The announcement of removing the British monarch from its banknotes by Australia in February this year was one of the very steps in this direction.
The coronation of Prince Charles Ⅲ as head of the state of the United Kingdom and the other 14 Commonwealth realms took place on the 6th of May. Ahead of the coronation of King Charles leaders from 12 Commonwealth countries have written a letter to King Charles demanding an apology for colonialism and slavery, financial Reparations, and the return of the looted artifacts of indigenous people. The monarchy has been the symbol of the colonial past and it shows the distressing past of the Commonwealth nation. Now more Commonwealth countries are wanting to break away from the colonial fetters by removing the British monarchy.
Factors that led to Commonwealth nations to remove the monarchy
Although the British monarch is only a symbolic head of state. But these countries do not want interference by any outside designation in their internal matter as they are sovereign states. Instead of being led by foreign kings these Commonwealth countries are now considering choosing their head of the state.
British king as the head of the state of Commonwealth nation is only a reminder of dark colonial history. This British monarchical system still holds the baggage of a traumatic past of slavery, exploitation, suffering, and various other wrongdoings. Decades after gaining independence these nations are still clinging on to that colonial system. So now they want to leave behind this system in the new era of republicanism.
The idea of monarchy in the 21st century is not relevant anymore as most of the commonwealth nations are mature democracies now. They can solely handle their matter of affairs without any external interference.
Among 32 independent countries headed by Queen Elizabeth Ⅱ, nearly 17 countries left the monarchy during her reign of 70 years. Now it will be interesting to see how many countries will be ditching the British monarchy as their head of state during King Charles Ⅲ reign.