The death of Elizabeth II means that Carlos III assumes the throne and the head of state in the United Kingdom and also in fourteen other Commonwealth countries. What does the death of Elizabeth II mean for these countries? At VerificaRTVE we explain the legal situation in these nations after the death of the monarch and which ones plan to stop depending on the British Royal Family to elect their own head of state at the polls.
The current Commonwealth of Nations (Commonwealth) was created in 1949 Y is made up of 56 countriesof which fifteen have had Elizabeth II as head of state (including UK). After the death of the sovereign, the until then Prince of Wales has become King Charles III of England and has become the head of the Commonwealth. The new king is not only from the United Kingdom but also from the other fourteen countries that had Elizabeth II as sovereign, from Canada to Australia and New Zealand through nations of less economic weight and size such as Antigua and Barbuda or Tuvalu.
These fourteen countries have already accepted Carlos as their new head of state. They did so on April 20, 2018, at the London meeting in which the Commonwealth heads of government agreed that the then Prince of Wales would succeed Elizabeth II as head of the organization. You can check this link the full list of countries dependent on the British Crown in this link.
The Commonwealth Press Department confirms to VerificaRTVE by email that these fourteen “kingdoms” currently have the “British monarch” as head of state. In addition to the UK there are fourteen kingdoms that recognize the British monarch as their head of state in their constitutions,” he says. He also recalls that the Commonwealth countries agreed “unanimously” at their 2018 meeting that Carlos would be the next head of the organization.
Despite the fact that they already accepted the then Prince Charles in 2018 and that they have already endorsed him as their current monarch, there are countries like Australia, New Zealand and Canada where there are important political movements and currents of opinion in favor of the establishment of a republic. There are also cases such as those of Jamaica and Antigua and Barbuda, whose rulers have directly conveyed to the Windsor family their desire to change their political regime in order to elect their head of state.
The Barbadian precedent
Barbados is one of the members of the Commonwealth that has had Elizabeth II as queen and represents the most recent example of a country abandoning the British monarchy to become a republic. She did, yes, when the British queen continued to exercise her position, in an act held on November 30, 2021. The then Prince of Wales took part in the ceremony marking the first day of the Republic of Barbados, in which Sandra Mason was proclaimed president, as we can see in this video from the ITV television network. After changing heads of state and political system, Barbados has continued as a member of the Commonwealth.
The republican movement in Australia
In the case of Australia, which also has ratified Carlos III as head of statethe government led by the Labor Prime Minister Anthony Albanese does not hide its republican commitment and, in fact, has appointed a Secretary of State for the Republic, Matt Thistlethwaite. However, after the death of Elizabeth II, the Prime Minister of Australia has assured that will not call a referendum on the republic during his first term.
The oceanic country held a referendum on October 1, 1999 to determine its political regime and Australians refused to become a republic. The Republican option registered 54.87 percent of votes againstin a consultation that had the participation of 95.1 percent of the census, according to data from the Australian Electoral Commission.
New Zealand Prime Minister rules out a referendum on her term
Other Commonwealth countries that have the British monarch as head of state, such as Canada and New Zealand, have political movements and currents of opinion in favor of a republic, but their current rulers do not promote any process in that direction nor do they plan to do so. The New Zealand Prime Minister, Labor Jacinda Ardern, declared in July 2017, when she was a candidate, that wanted Isabel II to stop being the head of state of her country. However, after coming to power, Ardern, who defines herself as a “republican”, has ruled out calling a referendum during his term and has said that he aspires for the country to reach the republic during his vital period.
In summary, hehe fourteen Commonwealth countries that had Elizabeth II as monarch have already endorsed Charles III as head of state after the queen’s death, despite the fact that in several of these states their leaders publicly support a republic. So far, none of these fourteen countries has called for a process to change its Constitution and stop having the British monarch as its head of state.