Prince Charles winks at Republican sentiment in Commonwealth speech
The Commonwealth is a 54-member club originating from the British Empire. The Queen is the head of state of 15 of its members, including the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Jamaica, Belize, Bahamas and Papua New Guinea.
Addressing the opening ceremony of a Commonwealth leaders’ summit in Rwanda, Charles said that “we meet and talk as equals” and that while some member states have maintained constitutional relations with his family , a growing number have not.
“I want to make it clear, as I have said before, that the constitutional arrangement of each member, whether it be a republic or a monarchy, is simply a matter for each member country to decide” , did he declare.
“The longevity benefit gives me the experience that such arrangements can change calmly and without hard feelings,” said Charles, who is 73. “We must never forget the things that do not change, namely the close and trusting partnership between the members of the Commonwealth.”
The comments will particularly resonate in the Caribbean, a region where post-colonial ties to Britain and its royal family are being questioned and, in some cases, upended.
Barbados abandoned the monarchy and became a republic last November. Jamaica, Belize and the Bahamas have indicated they will soon follow suit.
Britain and her royal family do not have the power to prevent the queen’s kingdoms from becoming republics, but from Charles’ comments it can be inferred that he considers himself to be in the long-term interest of the future of the monarchy to deal with gracefully.
Her son, Prince William, second in line to the throne, told Caribbean nations in March he supported “with pride and respect” their decisions about their future.
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