By: Jake Waldman
September 29, 2022
On September 8, 2022, the world heard the news that Queen Elizabeth passed away. Queen Elizabeth II left big shoes to fill as she was the longest reigning monarch in Britain’s history and had one of the highest approval ratings during her reign. Even though Queen Elizabeth had a high approval rating in Britain, support for the monarchy has been tumbling for a while now. Before the Queen’s death, Barbados officially became a republic splitting off from Queen Elizabeth II naming the first president, and gaining independence on February 20, 2022. Barbados has been attempting to leave for a long time as they wanted to get rid of their colonial past to become a Republic. Now that the Queen’s reign has ended some other countries in the British monarchy could follow Barbados’ lead by claiming independence and becoming a republic.
For many of the countries under the British Monarchy, change has been overdue for a while, and the death of Queen Elizabeth II might be what spurs the change. Some countries like New Zealand, Jamaica, Belize, and Antigua have already publicly discussed the possibility of breaking from the monarchy and becoming a republic because the monarchy’s role has been diminishing throughout the years as the prime minister of the respective countries has been handling almost all day-to-day operations of the government. In addition to the monarchy’s role being diminished, the news surrounding Britain has not been ideal as it tumultuously separated from the European Union which diminishes the reputation of the crown. Finally, the newly appointed King Charles does not have the strong reputation of stability and continuity that Queen Elizabeth had. All these factors combined can lead
Two of the biggest Countries under the British monarchy, Australia and Canada simply do not need to be under British rule anymore, but it’s hard for them to sever ties. Queen Elizabeth was liked by generations of Canadians which kept the rumblings of becoming independent from the monarchy subdued but now that Queen Elizabeth’s reign is over the debate has been revived. Canada is a special case though compared to the other countries within the monarchy because British rules govern its constitution and legal system making it harder to escape from the monarchy. Australia, on the other hand, can operate independently from the monarch but the change is not imminent due to Australians not wanting change. Australia according to surveys and research would rather stay as a monarch than go through the transition of becoming a Republic.
The implications of multiple countries leaving the monarchy would be a massive hit to Britain’s power and prestige. It has been estimated by Brand Finance that the Monarchy brings in a staggering £2.5 billion per year to the British economy. If multiple countries leave the monarchy, then it could massively impact Britain’s economy. The monarchy generates a lot of value in trade approximately 150 million euros a year due to it being the head of state in 14 countries. If some Countries become a republic and are out of the monarchy, the 150 million euros in trade per year Britain’s economy will take a massive hit. The monarchy’s value compared to other corporate brands would rank fourth behind Google, Apple, and Amazon. When one of those corporations takes a massive economic hit it impacts the American economy significantly. The same holds true with the monarchy and Britain possibly even more so because of Britain’s economic reliance on the monarchy.
There are rumors flying around about who will and won’t leave, but what country will be next to leave the monarchy? The truth is nobody knows but some countries make more sense than others right now. Jamaica, the Caribbean countries, and the Bahamas are already planning to leave the monarchy and become republics as the role of the monarchy has diminished in recent years. The unfortunate death of Queen Elizabeth II and the turnover to the next reign might be what ignites the fire for these countries to remove themselves. New Zealand is another country that stands out as a country that could become a republic in the future. In 2016 New Zealand stated that the end of the current monarch’s reign could be a time to reevaluate the current regime and possibly become a republic. It is worth saying that the current New Zealand Prime minister has stated she does not see this happening in the immediate future. Antigua and Barbuda are other nations that could break free from the monarchy in the near future. Days after the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda stated that within three years he plans a referendum to become a republic.
As sad as the death of Queen Elizabeth is it complicates the relationships with the other countries in the monarchy. Countries were already looking to break away from the monarch, but some were staying due to the sterling reputation of Queen Elizabeth II and the complexity of breaking apart from the monarchy. Now that one of those factors is out of the equation more countries may follow Barbados’s lead and break away from the monarchy.