The late Queen Elizabeth II wasn’t just the monarch of the UK. Thanks to the complicated legacy of the British Empire, she was also head of state for a whole swathe of other countries around the world, from the Caribbean to Australasia.
Even before the Queen passed away on September 8, several countries around the world had started to seriously question their ties to the British royal family. And following her death, it seems that some countries might have been more tied to QEII herself than to the institution of monarchy. Which is, erm, not great news for the recently-appointed King Charles III.
While there are 56 former British colonies in the political association known as the Commonwealth, the British crown now officially rules over 15 ‘Commonwealth realms’. The countries that currently have King Charles III as monarch are: 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, Tuvalu and, obvs, the United Kingdom.
Queen Elizabeth started her reign as the head of state in 32 countries, but throughout the 70 years of her reign, most cut ties with the British monarchy. Much of this change happened in the ’60s and ’70s, but it isn’t unheard of for countries to become republics these days – for example, following a parliamentary vote, Barbados ditched the Queen as recently as 2021.
So which countries could be next in the coming years? Well, several places may already be well on the way.
Which countries could become republics now?
The history of monarchy as a symbol of slavery and the atrocities of the British Empire does not sit easy with many former British colonies, particularly in the Caribbean.
Jamaica, the Bahamas, Antigua and Barbuda and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines have all said they intend to hold referendums on becoming republics, while Belize has apparently ordered a constitutional review.
Of those, Jamaica might be the first to get rid of the UK monarchy. As the Guardian reports, the Caribbean nation may even require a referendum in order to appoint Charles as king, therefore paving an easier path to republichood.
Which countries could become republics soon?
Look no further than New Zealand. While having no immediate plans to ditch the UK monarchy, it may do so in the not-too-distant future. The country’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, has said she believes the country will become a republic in her lifetime.
Which countries are unlikely to become republics?
In Australia, recently elected prime minister Anthony Albanese is a renowned republican. However, he has also said getting rid of the monarchy is not a priority in his first term of government. However, a recent poll put Australian popularity for the monarchy at a whopping 60 percent – which indicates that, despite having a strong republican movement, it’s unlikely to ditch the monarchy in the near future.
As for the rest? Well, in short, none of those appear to have republicanism on the agenda. None of Canada, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu have indicated that they might be holding referendums or revising their constitutions to oust King Charles anytime soon. But it’s likely that they will continue to grapple with the legacies of empire.
Did you see that this French resort is renaming its airport after Queen Elizabeth II?