Countries May Cut Ties With Monarchy After Queen’s Death
Queen Elizabeth II’s passing has sparked an outpouring of mourning across the world, but in many places, the end of her reign is also raising questions about what the future holds.
The monarch was recognized by more than a dozen countries, including Canada and New Zealand. The death of her mother is sure to spark debate over whether King Charles III should take on that responsibility. Already there are calls for changes.
Adam Bandt, the leader of Australia’s Greens Party, posted condolences to the Queen’s family on Twitter. But he added “Now Australia must move forward,” saying “We need [a] Treaty with First Nations people, and we need to become a Republic.”
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Katie Pickles, a professor of history at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, says “As the importance of the monarchy became less important in society, places like New Zealand hung on because they held the Queen personally in such high respect.”
She tells TIME: “King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla will likely not have the same appeal.”
Cindy McCreery (a University of Sydney senior lecturer on history who is an expert in monarchy, colonialism) agrees with the idea that republican sentiment will get a boost.
“I do think that now that the Queen has passed on, that does give republicans in Australia and elsewhere more room to speak openly about the constitutional future and to kind of prepare the path for a republic,” McCreery says.
People demanding slavery reparations are protesting outside the British High Commission entrance during the Duke & Duchess’s March 22nd, 2022 visit to Kingston, Jamaica.
RICARDO MAKYN/AFP via Getty Images
Anti-monarchist sentiment is a hallmark of the Caribbean
Some countries have seen anti-monarchist sentiment rise in conjunction with racial injustice movements. These actions brought anticolonialist thought and conversations about Indigenous rights to the forefront.
While on their March Caribbean trip, the Duke and Duchess faced protests from a variety of groups. Protests forced William and Kate to cancel their visit at a cacao farm in Belize on their first leg of the tour.
Ahead of their visit to Jamaica, an open letter released by the Advocates Network, and signed by more than 100 local leaders, said: “During her 70 years on the throne, your grandmother has done nothing to redress and atone for the suffering of our ancestors that took place during her reign and/or during the entire period of British trafficking of Africans, enslavement, indentureship and colonization.”
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According to McCreery, “Particularly countries in the Caribbean, which of course have that very painful legacy of British slavery in the past, I think they are more likely to be among the states that choose to become republics.”
In June, Jamaica’s Minister of Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Marlene Malahoo Forte, said that the process of transitioning to a republic had “formally commenced.”
Barbados, once called “Little England” for its tight British ties, became a republic in late 2021.
A protestor group from the republican community gathers in front of Hamilton’s Town Hall, New Zealand before the arrival by the Duke and Duchess Of Cambridge. This occurred on April 12, 2014 in Hamilton.
Phil Walter/Getty Images
Republicanism in Australasia
Australian Republic Movement is a group that wants to see an Australian replace the Queen or King of Britain. They declined to comment. But in a statement issued after the Queen’s death, it hinted at a political opportunity. “It is unlikely we will ever see a Monarch as respected or admired by the Australian people again,” said Peter FitzSimons, chair of the movement.
In June 2022, Australia appointed Matt Thistlethwaite, a former republican campaigner, as its first ever assistant minister for the republic, to help oversee the country’s potential transition.
“We’ve got this unique opportunity with a Queen coming to the end of her reign, for us to now lay the groundwork so that when that does happen in the future, we’re ready to go with a campaign and a chance to really create a truly independent nation,” he told the Sydney Morning HeraldIn an interview that was published Sept.
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In 2016, then leader of New Zealand’s Labour Party, Andrew Little, said that “the end of the reign of the current monarch would be a good time to debate our constitutional arrangements. Is it still desirable that the head of state lives in London? Are we willing to try something new? Stand on our own two feet?”
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in 2021 that she thinks the country will become a republic in her lifetime.
Rawiri Waititi, a member of New Zealand’s parliament and the co-leader of the Māori Party, said on Twitter on Friday that “the huge vacuum left” by the Queen’s death “will cause debate.”
One New Zealand republican, who asked not to be named, told TIME that “There’s that very strong feeling of nostalgia with the Queen that doesn’t transfer to her son or grandchildren.”
“I think this is very much a moment when the discussion about possible moves to become republics will open up,” McCreery concludes. “I think that there was a great sense of restraint during the Queen’s reign.”
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