REVEALED: Anti-monarchy activist & Republican group who slammed King
REVEALED: The anti-monarchy activist and his Republican group who held up a caricature of the King with the words ‘not fit for purpose’ in Milton Keynes
- Republic CEO Graham Smith believes the UK should elect its head of state
- Mr Smith and the group protested the King’s visit to Milton Keynes today
- He said Charles lacks ‘deference and sycophancy’ that surrounded the Queen
The anti-monarchy activist whose Republican group who disrupted the King’s visit to Milton Keynes today believes the crown is ‘wrong in principle’ and ‘bad for politics.’
Protesters with Republic, a group that advocates for an elected head of state, waived signs saying ‘not my King’ and held up a caricature of Charles featuring the words ‘not fit for purpose’ as the monarch marked the area’s newly-granted city status.
Graham Smith, Republic CEO, slammed Charles during his walkabout today, alleging he lacks the ‘deference and sycophancy’ that surrounded the late Queen.
Mr Smith, who has campaigned against the Royal Family for over a decade, believes the UK should elect its head of state and plans to protest the upcoming coronation.
Graham Smith, Republic CEO, slammed Charles during his walkabout today, alleging he lacks the ‘deference and sycophancy’ that surrounded the Queen
Footage shared online showed a large crowd turned up for today’s demonstration which was reportedly held in attempt to raise awareness for a larger protest against the coronation
Demonstrators shouted at Charles (pictured today) as he walked by the crowd, seemingly unphased by their anti-monarchy sentiment
‘Charles has not inherited the respect and deference the Queen enjoyed,’ Mr Smith, who has been running Republic since 2005, told MailOnline.
Mr Smith said Republic’s mission is the ‘abolition of the monarchy in favour of a Parliamentary Republic.’
He said the demonstration was held ‘to raise awareness of the significant number of people opposed to the monarchy.’
‘Polling shows significant changes in support among age groups and drop in overall support,’ he explained. ‘We believe we can win this campaign.’
Overall mission is abolition of the monarchy in favour of a parliamentary republic
We’re hoping to have other protests over the coming weeks, but main focus is a big protest at the coronation. Already have several hundred pledging to be there.
Charles has not inherited the respect and deference the Queen enjoyed. We believe we can win this campaign.
Footage shared on social media showed a large crowd turned up for today’s demonstration.
Demonstrators shouted at Charles as he walked by the crowd, seemingly unphased by their anti-monarchy sentiment.
One protester yelled: ‘Don’t run away!’
‘I asked Charles why he’s wasting money on the coronation. He didn’t want to answer,’ Mr Smith recalled in a tweet.
The activist, who seemingly organised the Milton Keynes protest, also claimed that today’s protest aimed to raise awareness for a larger demonstration against the coronation.
It is unclear what exactly Republic is planning, but the group’s online pledge to protest states: ‘This is the moment we make our objection loud, visible and impossible to ignore.’
Mr Smith, quoted on the Republic website, has previously argued: ‘The monarchy is wrong in principle, doesn’t work in practice, and is bad for our politics. It has to go.’
‘Everything has changed with the Queen gone and Charles on the throne,’ he echoed today in a statement to The Independent. ‘We’ve just had a new head of state without anybody being asked.’
Republic protesters waived signs saying ‘not my King’ and held up a caricature of Charles featuring the words ‘not fit for purpose’ as King Charles III marked Milton Keynes’ newly-granted city status
King Charles III arrives at the Church of Christ the Cornerstone in Milton Keynes to celebrate Milton Keynes’ new status as a city
Republic, a group which advocates for an elected head of state, is staging the protest in Buckinghamshire
King Charles III arrives at Church of Christ the Cornerstone for a reception with members of the local community and organisations on February 16
Videos show enthusiastic crowds cheering the King as he arrived at the city’s Church of Christ the Cornerstone, with a few boos and jeers from the activists.
Waving to the crowd, Charles, 74, approaches and begins shaking hands with them, while some sing ‘God Save the King’.
Charles was to be joined on the Buckinghamshire visit by Queen Consort Camilla, 75, but she pulled out after testing positive for Covid.
A member of the public presented the King with flowers, wishing Camilla the best.
Republic wrote on Twitter today: ‘We’re off to Milton Keynes today, to ask the King some questions. You can join the protest at the Church of Christ Cornerstone.’
In a short video on Twitter the King, flanked by his imposing security detail, arrives at the church in Milton Keynes.
As he turns the corner, he is greeted by a large crowd of people – some holding Union flags.
Waving to the crowd, the King approaches and begins shaking hands while some sing ‘God Save the King’.
Towards the back, four people holding large yellow ‘Not My King’ signs are seen.
Neither acknowledging them or reacting to the message, the King finishes greeting members of the public and heads into the church.
King Charles III speaks to members of the public as he arrives for a reception with members of the local community and organisations at the Church of Christ the Cornerstone, as he visits Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, to celebrate its new status as a city
Many children has been taken to the meet-and-greet to try and get close to the King
However other people came to the church to hold signs reading ‘Not my King’
The King ignored the anti-monarchy protesters on his walkabout in Milton Keynes today
King Charles III speaks to members of the public as he arrives for a reception with members of the local community and organisations at the Church of Christ the Cornerstone
Republic had previously said it was concerned by the prospect of police harassment at royal events.
A spokesman told the Daily Express: ‘Republic is concerned about recent police harassment of peaceful protesters at royal events.
‘We’re determined to get the message across that it’s OK to protest against the royals. Instead of a pointless coronation, we need a serious public debate.
‘We believe the British public should be asked – do you want Charles or a choice?
‘The tide is starting to turn against the monarchy and we need a serious debate about its future.’
Social media reaction to the stunt was lukewarm, with many questioning the point of the protest. One said: ‘Those protestors are so sad.’
Another added: ‘Love his unbotheredness walking right up to the crowd with the ‘Not My King’ signs to greet them!’
‘He’s an old pro.. that’s the way to deal with them’, said a third user.
There was massive excitement when King Charles’ royal car arrived
Many children sat on their parents shoulders to get a good view of the King
The King has come to Milton Keynes to attend a ceremony where it will obtain city status
The Church of Christ Cornerstone was covered in Union flags
Hundreds of people had gathered in the Union flag-covered car park to see the new King, who took his time to meet as many as he could.
It was a busy afternoon for the monarch, who was presented with flowers by a well-wisher who asked him if Camilla was feeling better.
The Queen Consort had tested positive for Covid after suffering from cold symptoms and was forced to cancel a West Midlands visit.
In a sweet video, Charles can be seen graciously accepting the gift and exchanging a few words with the woman.
Many praised the King’s people skills which could be seen in videos shared on social media. One said: ‘King Charles is getting wonderful reception wherever he goes.’
Another user commented: ‘King Charles is always a big deal. Love the energy in the crowds.’
Milton Keynes will be officially given city status today in a ceremony after it was granted in the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee last May.
The area is home to around 280,000 people and had previously failed to become a city in 2000, 2002 and 2012.
Who are Republic?
Republic is a pressure group calling for an end to the UK’s system of constitutional monarchy.
Set up in 1983 as a group of republicans and officially founded as pressure group in 2006, Republic wants to replace a royal head of state with an elected figure.
It would bring the UK into line with countries such as Germany, which has both a political leader, currently Chancellor Angela Merkel, and an elected head of state, the President of Germany, currently Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
It is a member organisation of Common Cause – the alliance of republican movements in the Commonwealth – as well as the Stockholm based Alliance of European Republican Movements.
The group protested the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in 2011 and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding in 2018.
It is currently headed up by Peter Cafferkey – who took over as chairman of the pressure group earlier this year.
Mr Cafferkey is the UK’s representative for the European Venture Philanthropy Association, having founded London-based ‘social good’ consultancy Boncerto.
Its current CEO is long-term member Graham Smith, who has constistently called for the end to the Monarchy – a system he describes as ‘wrong’.
As of 2015, the group had an income of £140,000.
In 2016 it had over 5,000 paying members and about 35,000 online supporters.
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