Queen Elizabeth II, the longest reigning monarch of Britain, passed away last week, after a service of 70 years. The news of her demise was met with deep sorrow across the globe. The queen did not only rule over UK, rather she was recognized Head of State by 15 countries called Commonwealth countries, including Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
The Commonwealth of Nations is a political association comprising of 56 states. A vast majority of these states were formerly colonised by the British Empire. 15 of these states recognise the monarch as their Head of State, 36 are republics and 5 have different monarchs.
The Queen took various measures for the Commonwealth of Nations to not be confused with colonialism. Therefore, there is no legal obligation for members to recognise the British monarch as Head of State. Yet, some developed nations, like Australia and Canada choose to do it.
However, the passing away of queen has caused the Commonwealth countries to reconsider that. Queen was popular in parts of the Commonwealth, but her son and successor, King Charles III may not be perceived with similar affection.
Australian lawmaker Adam Bandt revived the debate by asking the country to “move forward” and sever its ties with the monarch. Australia had held a referendum, in 1999, on becoming a republic, but it failed due to 55% votes against it.
A push for a republic has grown in other Commonwealth countries, like New Zealand and parts of Caribbean, as well.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern previously stated that she wants her country to become a republic in her lifetime. However, no immediate measures will be taken as a consequence of Queen’s death, because she has never sensed the urgency.
She did maintain her statement that it’s likely that New Zealand achieves republicanism in future. However, it would never be a question of whether the British monarch was to change.
Parts of Caribbean:
The calls for cutting ties with the British crown seem to be stronger in countries with deep colonial wounds, such as in parts of Caribbean, where British rule is associated with a history of slavery.
In a recent visit to Jamaica, a Caribbean nation, Prince William and his wife, Kate were met with protests, demanding an apology and reparations. The same nation is expected to remove British monarch as its Head of State some time before 2025.
Therefore, it’s safe to say that with the end of the reign of Elizabeth II, the future of Commonwealth is uncertain, since she was the binding glue both in the UK and the Commonwealth.