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These are the 15 Commonwealth realms and where they stand on the royals

By Jennifer Ferreira, producer

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    TORONTO (CTV Network) — While King Charles III’s coronation will take place in London on May 6, many countries aside from the United Kingdom will see their new monarch crowned.

In addition to the U.K., there are 14 Commonwealth Realms around the world. These countries, which include Canada, Australia and Jamaica, consider the British monarch as their head of state. The role is largely symbolic, as these countries still operate as sovereign states with their own governments, having gained independence from British rule throughout the years.

“These are countries that have chosen, through history and through their constitutional arrangements, to still have the King of their head of state,” CTV News royal commentator Richard Berthelsen told on April 3. “The monarchy serves them … as long as they want to have that arrangement.”

Questions around maintaining ties with the Royal Family have resurfaced in many Commonwealth Realms ahead of King Charles’ coronation. Even prior to Queen Elizabeth II’s death in September 2022, a number of realms had begun to reconsider their relationship with the monarchy.

Part of the reason for this re-evaluation is tied to Britain’s legacy as a colonial ruler, as well as its role in the slave trade. Protesters in countries such as Jamaica, for example, have asked the monarchy to apologize for its ties to slavery and provide reparation payments.

Changes to these monarchical ties can be made through constitutional amendments, if these countries choose to pursue them.

“We’re in a new reign … It’s entirely appropriate that people would reconsider the situation,” Berthelsen said. “It’s difficult to reconcile the entire scope of their history with the idea of a head of state that exists in another country.”

For the first time, King Charles recently conveyed his support for research into the monarchy’s links to slavery. This comes after a document surfaced showing ancestral ties between the British monarchy and a slave-trading company, according to a Buckingham Palace spokesperson.

These realms are also members of the Commonwealth of Nations, a voluntary association of 56 countries, nearly all of which were previously under British rule. Spanning various geographical regions and cultures, the Commonwealth is made up of more than two billion people across the globe, according to its website. Member nations recognize King Charles as the symbolic head of the association.

Whether through national surveys, comments from current and former leaders, or constitutional reviews, Commonwealth Realms have expressed their support – or lack thereof – for the Royal Family throughout the years. takes a closer look at which countries are currently considered Commonwealth Realms, and how their residents feel towards the monarchy.



Year of Independence from the U.K.: 1867

As a constitutional monarchy, Canada recognizes the British sovereign as its ceremonial head of state, represented by the Governor General. So far, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has not signalled any intention to remove the monarch as head of state. During a London news conference the day before Queen Elizabeth’s funeral, Trudeau dismissed a question on whether Canada would reconsider its ties to the monarchy.

In October 2022, Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet put forward a motion to cut ties with the British monarchy, but it was defeated 266-44. Despite this, public polls conducted in 2021 and 2020 show waning support for the Royal Family throughout the years.

A recent survey published by Research Co. in March shows 19 per cent of Canadians say they would like the country to maintain ties with the monarchy, a 12-point decrease compared to a similar poll conducted in September 2022. A separate survey published by Nanos Research in October 2022 showed 32 per cent of Canadians expect King Charles to do an “average job” as monarch. Each poll involved about 1,000 Canadian adults.

For Canada to sever ties with the monarchy, “unanimous consent” is required from the House of Commons, the Senate and all 10 provinces. Because of this, experts say it would be “virtually impossible” for the country to drop the monarchy. A national referendum is not required.


Year of Independence from the U.K.: 1901

Meanwhile, a referendum was held in Australia in 1999 to determine the country’s future ties with the British monarchy. In order to change the Australian constitution, a referendum must be held and a majority of Australian voters must be in favour.

But during the vote held in November 1999, 55 per cent of respondents voted “no” to abolishing the monarchy.

Following Queen Elizabeth’s death, Australia’s current prime minister, Anthony Albanese, said that now is not the time for another referendum on the monarchy. Prior to this, Albanese said another referendum was not a priority during his government’s first term, although he stopped short of ruling it out in the future.

An Ipsos poll conducted in December 2022 showed 54 per cent of respondents said Australia should cut ties with the monarchy.


Year of Independence from the U.K.: 1907

In New Zealand, a Head of State Referenda Bill was tabled in 2009 by former member of Parliament Keith Locke, calling for a referendum on whether the country should remove the British monarch as its head of state and become a republic. But in April 2010, the bill was defeated in its first reading.

In recent years, New Zealand’s government has shown little interest in reigniting the republic debate. Following Queen Elizabeth’s death, former prime minister Jacinda Ardern said her government had no plans to pursue becoming a republic, although she acknowledged the move could happen within her lifetime.

Since then, Chris Hipkins has replaced Ardern as prime minister of New Zealand. Following a meeting with Australia’s Albanese on Feb. 7, Hipkins said there were no discussions around plans for New Zealand to remove the British sovereign as its head of state.


Year of Independence from the U.K.: 1975

Several politicians in Papua New Guinea have expressed their support for maintaining ties with the monarchy over the years. According to Australia’s Broadcasting Corporation, the country’s Minister for National Events Justin Tkatchenko said in April 2022 that Papua New Guinea had no plans to become a republic.

However, on Feb. 15, the country’s government launched a review of its system of government, which will ultimately recommend whether the monarch should be replaced as the country’s head of state. The review, led by Prime Minister James Marape and the country’s Constitutional and Law Reform Commission, will involve public consultations.


Year of Independence from the U.K.: 1978

Tuvalu has held two referendums on whether to keep the British sovereign as its head of state or become a republic – the first was in 1986 and the second in 2008. In both cases, the majority of voters were in favour of maintaining ties with the monarchy.

The country also launched a constitutional consultation in 2021 to evaluate the pros and cons of keeping the British monarch as its head of state. Based on recommendations outlined in the committee’s final report, Tuvalu decided to uphold its ties to the monarchy and keep the British sovereign as its head of state.


Year of Independence from the U.K.: 1978

The Solomon Islands, currently led by Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, has not held any referendums on the question of whether to cut ties with the Royal Family. Instead, the country has remained steadfast in its support for the British monarchy.

Following Queen Elizabeth’s death on Sept. 8, the country observed three days of mourning in her honour. Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare also shared his condolences with the Royal Family, describing the Queen’s death as “a very sad and solemn day for Solomon Islands, for countries of the Commonwealth and the world.”


In November 2021, Barbados became the first country to sever ties with the monarchy and become a republic in 30 years. The decision was the result of a vote held in parliament; a referendum was not required.

Since then, many other Commonwealth Realms in the Caribbean have expressed a desire to reconsider their future ties with the Royal Family.


Year of Independence from the U.K.: 1981

During a royal tour led by Prince Edward and Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, in April 2022, Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne told both royals of the country’s desire to become a republic.

Shortly after Queen Elizabeth’s death just a few months later Browne officially announced intentions to hold a referendum on the future of the monarchy. He said the vote would be held within the next three years.

“This is not an act of hostility or any difference between Antigua and Barbuda and the monarchy, but it is a final step to complete that circle of independence to become a truly sovereign nation,” he told ITV News.


Year of Independence from the U.K.: 1962

In recent years, there have also been requests from Jamaican politicians and advocates to remove the British monarch as head of state and become a republic. During Prince William and Catherine, Princess of Wales’ visit in March 2022, Prime Minister Andrew Holness told the royals Jamaica will be “moving on” as an independent nation.

The country’s current government is looking at becoming a republic before the 2025 general election. Experts say the move could take years to execute and will require a referendum.

A poll commissioned by local newspaper the Jamaica Observer in 2020 showed 55 per cent of respondents were in favour of abolishing the monarchy while 30 per cent said they preferred the British monarch to remain the country’s head of state. A separate survey commissioned by the Jamaica Gleaner, a separate newspaper, in August 2022 revealed 56 per cent of respondents were interested in cutting ties with the monarchy.


Year of Independence from the U.K.: 1979

In Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, a constitutional referendum was held in 2009 under Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, just before the late Queen Elizabeth visited the Caribbean for a Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting. At the time, 43 per cent of respondents were in favour of cutting ties with the monarchy, well below the two-thirds majority required.

Gonsalves resurfaced the idea of a referendum in July 2022, asking residents to vote on whether to replace the British monarch as head of state. But the prime minister said he would only pursue the measure if he had bipartisan support. The following month, Opposition Leader Godwin Friday said removing the British sovereign as head of state in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is not a priority.



Year of Independence from the U.K.: 1981

In addition to touring Jamaica, Prince William and Catherine, Princess of Wales, also visited Belize in March 2022. Ahead of their visit, villagers held protests against the monarchy, which led to the cancellation of the first engagement on their tour.

Shortly after the prince and princess departed, the government of Belize said it would create a new constitutional commission to speak with citizens about becoming a republic.

Henry Charles Usher, Belize’s minister for constitutional and political reform, told parliament on March 24 that this would be “the next step in truly owning our independence” but that cutting ties with the monarchy must be a decision made by the public.


Year of Independence from the U.K.: 1973

Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, Bahamian Prime Minister Philip Davis said his government plans to hold a referendum on whether the country should transition into a republic, but offered no details on when this would take place.

In a report released July 2013, the country’s constitutional commission stated that public sentiment around the removal of the Queen as head of state was “mixed,” with many residents feeling indifferent.

Following their tour of Belize and Jamaica in March 2022, Prince William and Catherine, Princess of Wales, visited the Bahamas as well, where protesters also called upon the Royal Family to apologize for slavery.


Year of Independence from the U.K.: 1974

While questions have been raised in Grenada about cutting ties with the British monarchy, it’s unclear how much public support currently exists for this. Arley Gill, chairman of Grenada’s National Reparations Committee, told iNews in June 2022 that the Royal Family has lost its “relevance and significance” for Grenadians.

The government has not announced plans for a referendum on the issue, although a two-thirds majority vote is required to make any changes. Although Prince Edward and Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, were supposed to visit Grenada in April 2022, the trip was cancelled at the last minute.


Year of Independence from the U.K.: 1983

Deputy Prime Minister Shawn Richards has expressed interest in reviewing the country’s relationship with the monarchy, but no formal plans to do so have been announced.

In an April 2022 press conference, Richards said “the advancement of the decades has taught us that the time has come for Saint Kitts and Nevis to review its monarchical system of government.”


Year of Independence from the U.K.: 1979

In recent years, questions around future ties to the monarchy have surfaced in Saint Lucia as well. Former prime ministers Allen Chastanet and Kenny Anthony have each called on the current government to move towards becoming a republic, and drop the British monarch as its head of state. However, no plans for a referendum have been announced.


The British monarch also serves as head of state in the U.K., which encompasses England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Neither nation has formally announced plans to break ties with the monarchy, although proposals for independence from the U.K. have surfaced in Scotland within the last decade.

Amid sexual abuse allegations involving Prince Andrew and an ongoing rift between Prince Harry and other members of the Royal Family, British support for the monarchy has largely dropped over the last decade.

According to a YouGov poll conducted in March, 61 per cent of nearly 2,000 British respondents think Britain should continue to have a monarchy instead of replacing it with an elected head of state. In September 2022, a similar poll found 67 per cent of 1,710 British respondents were in favour of the monarchy.


Throughout the years, the Royal Family has expressed its support for Commonwealth Realms wishing to explore the idea of removing the British monarch as head of state.

During his tour of the Caribbean in March 2022, Prince William said the Royal Family would respect any decision made by Belize, Jamaica or the Bahamas that would involve cutting ties with the British monarchy and becoming a republic.

“We support with pride and respect your decisions about your future,” William said during a reception in the Bahamas on March 25. “Relationships evolve. Friendship endures.”

During a Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting a few months later, then-Prince Charles reaffirmed this message while addressing the interests of some countries to cut constitutional ties with the monarchy.

“I want to say clearly, as I have said before, that each member’s constitutional arrangement, as republic or monarchy, is purely a matter for each member country to decide,” Charles said. “Arrangements such as these can change, calmly and without rancour.”

With files from writer Daniel Otis and The Associated Press

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