This story probably won’t get as much attention as all of Prince William’s birthday keenery, but it’s fascinating to me and I hope people are paying attention. For the British Commonwealth, everything is on a knife’s edge. The Caribbean countries which still have Queen Elizabeth as their head of state will be dropping the monarchy in the coming months/years. Australia will likely wait until QEII dies to begin the process of becoming a republic as well. The countries which still voluntarily belong to “the Commonwealth” are increasingly looking to cut or limit their ties with the British monarchy as well. The Commonwealth, as we know it, will likely fall apart soon after King Charles ascends the throne. And now the royals are trying to make it sound like they’re being proactive about it, even though – gulp – William doesn’t actually give a sh-t.
Palace officials have been examining the constitutions of Commonwealth countries amid fears many are poised to quit when the Prince of Wales becomes king. A source in the royal household warned courtiers fear that when the Queen dies countries will sever ties with the royal family leading to the long-term collapse of the Commonwealth. They say Buckingham Palace has war-gamed which are the most likely to want to become republics, and eventually leave the Commonwealth, and have concluded that Australia and Jamaica are among the most vulnerable.
“The concern at the Palace is that will loosen the ties that bind,” the source said. “Jamaica is halfway out of the door and people have been looking very closely at what has been said in Australia. The big fear — and it is not one they can do anything about — is that Australia is next to become a republic.”
The fears have surfaced just days before Charles and Boris Johnson are set to represent the UK at the Commonwealth heads of government meeting (CHOGM) in Rwanda. At CHOGM in 2018 the Queen and government presented Commonwealth leaders with a fait accompli where Prince Charles was announced as his mother’s successor as head of the Commonwealth. The Queen said it was her “sincere wish” that he take over.
But Prince William has little interest in continuing the tradition. “Who the Commonwealth chooses to lead its family in the future isn’t what is on my mind,” he said in March. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had faced questions about the unresolved legacy of slavery during their tour of the Caribbean earlier this year.
The source said: “I doubt that Prince William will ever head the Commonwealth. The Queen was passionate about it. Charles will keep it going out of deference to her and because it’s an excuse for a few trips when he’s king, but William said he doesn’t care very much about it.”
Jeremy Hunt, the former foreign secretary, said: “The Commonwealth has never really been an organisation that gets things done because it can only operate through consensus. But it would be a great tragedy if it were to implode because at a time when we are having to re-win the argument for democracy globally it is one of the few North-South groupings in which mature and emerging democracies come together.”
Imagine being paid to work for the royals and being tasked with “war-gaming” the likelihood of countries dumping the monarchy and coming to the careful conclusion that Australia and Jamaica are the “most vulnerable.” How stupid are these people? Jamaica’s prime minister called William and Kate into his office and FIRED THEM before they even sat down. Australians voted for a small-r republican who has already started the process of warming up the public to the country’s eventual constitutional change into a republic. None of this is happening secretly – all the palace aides would have to do is pick up a newspaper.
All of this to say that William is too lazy to actually care or try to do anything about it. We learned that during the Cambridges’ Caribbean Flop Tour too – William and Kate are incapable of actually changing and transitioning into the kind of soft diplomats needed in this situation. William’s answer was, boldly, that he can’t change and if you don’t like him, that’s fine and he’s breaking up with YOU. Charles will be able to keep some countries in the Commonwealth… but yeah, this whole thing is a sh-tshow. It’s fascinating to watch it fall apart in real time.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Instar.