Home Meeting notice King Charles is meeting with representatives from the Commonwealth realms, but will they keep him as king?

King Charles is meeting with representatives from the Commonwealth realms, but will they keep him as king?

0

When Queen Elizabeth II died, it wasn’t just the role of head of state in the UK that passed to her son. The new King Charles III also immediately became head of state in 14 countries outside the UK, known as the Commonwealth Realms. And he also took on the post of Head of the Commonwealth – not a hereditary post but a role that was agreed in 2018 would become his.

King Charles was joined by his wife Camilla for meetings today at Buckingham Palace reflecting his new global roles. He met the Commonwealth Secretary General, Patricia Scotland (above), in the 1844 Room and with the High Commissioners of the Commonwealth Realms in the Bow Room. The meetings, which took place on the fourth day of his tenure as king, come as the question of whether the kingdoms will retain him as head of state is now being debated.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told Sky News today that he would not hold a referendum on the monarchy during his first term out of respect for the Queen. The country last put the issue to a vote in 1999, when a slim majority voted to keep the British monarch as head of state. Reports have indicated, however, that Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne has said he intends to hold a referendum within three years. And in recent months, the conversation about if – or when – the Commonwealth realms will get rid of the monarchy has already been at the forefront.

In November 2021, Prince Charles then represented the Queen in Barbados when the country became a republic and appointed a president: the first country to get rid of the Queen as head of state in nearly 30 years. When Prince William and Kate embarked on their Caribbean tour in March, the Jamaican Prime Minister effectively let them know his country would do the same, saying Jamaica was “moving on”. Another of their destinations, Belize, signaled his intention to review the situation shortly after the visit. The Earl and Countess of Wessex were due to visit Grenada, another Commonwealth realm, in April, but at the 11th hour the destination was removed from their itinerary.

There were, of course, no signs of tension in the footage that was released of the King’s meetings today, showing him and the Queen Consort wearing mourning clothes and chatting animatedly with the High Commissioners. But King Charles could not fail to be aware of the ongoing conversations about the future of the monarchy.

Queen consort at a reception with the kingdom’s high commissioners and their spouses in the Bow Room at Buckingham Palace.

VICTORIA JONES//Getty Images

His position as head of the Commonwealth of 56 independent nations – most but not all of which have ties to the British Empire – has also raised some eyebrows. When the last Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) took place in June, Reuters reported that “some Caribbean member states were not comfortable with the decision” made in 2018 for Charles to succeed his mother.