London: Commonwealth nations could “rush for the door” of the bloc after the death of Queen Elizabeth II, an expert has warned, media reports said. In addition to the UK, Charles III now rules in 14 Commonwealth countries that were former dominions of the British Empire, Daily Mail reported.
With republican movements gaining ground from Australia to the Bahamas, the new king also faces a challenge keeping the Commonwealth realms in the royal fold, the report said.
Several are already set to vote on becoming republics and replace him as head of state now that nostalgic ties to the late monarch are broken by her death.
Barbados became a republic last year and Jamaica has indicated its desire to follow suit. Antigua and Barbuda’s prime minister Gaston Browne said it would vote on whether to remove the royal family as head of state.
Professor Philip Murphy, director of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, said that the movement had already started before the Queen died last week, Daily Mail reported.
“A movement had already started before she died,” he told the Times. He said it was being driven by “a combination of things like the Black Lives Matter movement, the Windrush scandal, and the growing momentum behind the move for reparations for slavery and colonialism”.
“If you want to write a history of the world of international relations, certainly since the 1990s, you would be hard pressed to find a reason to mention the Commonwealth,” he added, Daily Mail reported.
“The Commonwealth is so insubstantial it doesn’t have any impact at all, and no one would notice if it disappeared tomorrow, in terms of its practical effects.”
As well as the UK, Charles is now head of state in Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Belize, Canada, Grenada, Jamaica, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent, and the Grenadines, Solomon Islands, and Tuvalu.
Gaston Browne made the announcement minutes after signing a document that confirmed King Charles III as the new head of state but emphasized that the move was “not an act of hostility”. (IANS)