Warning over 'rush for the Commonwealth door' following Queen's death
Warning over ‘rush for the Commonwealth door’ as more nations including Antigua and Barbuda prepare to become republics and quit the international bloc following the Queen’s death but Australia delays any move to replace the King
- Charles III rules in 14 Commonwealth countries from Australia to the Bahamas
- Several set to vote on becoming republics and replacing him as head of state
- Barbados became a republic last year and Jamaica and Antigua could follow
- Full coverage: Click here to see all our coverage of the Queen’s passing
Commonwealth nations could ‘rush for the door’ of the bloc after the death of the Queen, an expect has warned.
In addition to the UK, Charles III now rules in 14 Commonwealth countries that were former dominions of the British Empire.
With republican movements gaining ground from Australia to the Bahamas, the new king also faces a challenge keeping the Commonwealth realms in the royal fold.
Several are already set to vote on becoming republics and replace him as head of state now that nostalgic ties to the late monarch are broken by her death.
Barbados became a republic last year and Jamaica has indicated its desire to follow suite. And yesterday Antigua and Barbuda’s prime minister Gaston Browne said it would vote on whether to remove the royal family as head of state.
Professor Philip Murphy, director of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, said that the movement had already started before the Queen died last week.
Barbados became a republic last year and Jamaica has indicated its desire to follow suite and replace the King as head of state
And yesterday Antigua and Barbuda’s prime minister Gaston Browne said it would vote on whether to become a republic
Aussies to join PM Albanese at funeral
Ten ordinary Australian citizens will attend the Queen’s state funeral in London with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Governor-General David Hurley.
The Australian PM recently announced that he will not be travelling alone.
Writing on Twitter, Mr Albanese said that, on top of inviting Australia’s heads of state, Buckingham Palace had extended the invitation to 10 Australians for their ‘extraordinary contributions to their communities’.
They include this year’s Australian of the Year, Dylan Alcott, Senior Australians of the Year from this year and last, Valmai Dempsey and Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr Baumann, Local Heroes Shanna Whan, Saba Abraham and Kim Smith, Western Australian of the Year Helen Milroy, South Australian Young Australian of the Year Trudy Lin, i4give Day founder Danny Abdallah, and the Australian Racing Hall of Fame’s Chris Waller.
Mr Albanese’s announcement of the exclusive invitations comes after he faced a backlash from the business and healthcare sectors for declaring a one-off bank holiday to mark a national day of mourning for the Queen.
He announced on Sunday that Australia will observe a bank holiday on September 22 following the monarch’s funeral on September 19.
However, the news quickly drew criticism from healthcare professionals, retail and business groups who said the short-notice nature of the bank holiday will cause huge disruption for them.
‘A movement had already started before she died,’ he told the Times. He said it was being driven by ‘a combination of things like the Black Lives Matter movement, the Windrush scandal and the growing momentum behind the move for reparations for slavery and colonialism’.
‘If you want to write a history of the world of international relations, certainly since the 1990s, you would be hard pressed to find a reason to mention the Commonwealth,’ he added.
‘The Commonwealth is so insubstantial it doesn’t have any impact at all, and no one would notice if it disappeared tomorrow, in terms of its practical effects.’
As well as the UK, Charles is now head of state in Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Belize, Canada, Grenada, Jamaica, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Solomon Islands, and Tuvalu.
Gaston Browne made the announcement minutes after signing a document that confirmed King Charles III as the new head of state but emphasised that the move was ‘not an act of hostility’.
By contrast, Australia’s Labour prime minister, Anthony Albanese, a republican, ruled out holding a referendum for at least four years. Mr Albanese instead announced Australians would be given a one-off public holiday next week as a day of national mourning in tribute to the Queen’s reign.
New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern said the country will not look to become a republic in the wake of the Queen’s death.
It is understood that a trip the new King and Queen had been due to undertake in October to a Commonwealth country is now ‘doubtful’ with a coronation to plan and pressing affairs of state.
But the new Prince and Princess of Wales could tour Australia early next year – and may even take their children.
It is understood the Palace is looking at plans for Royal Family members to travel to as many realms – countries where King Charles III is also head of state – and leading Commonwealth nations as possible next year. They would formally accept condolences on the death of the Queen.
William and Kate toured Australia in 2014 with a baby Prince George.
They had been due to travel there in 2020 but the visit was cancelled due to Covid.
There is speculation that they could try to travel in the school holidays next Easter and take their young family with them.
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The new Prince and Princess of Wales could tour Australia early next year – and may even take their children. They are pictured on a visit to Jamaica last year
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