Commonwealth nations increasingly at odds with monarchy as Charles III’s coronation looms

Republican movements, which call for abolition of monarchy, have sprouted up around those commonwealth nations, especially after Queen Elizabeth II passed away

Emre Basaran  | 05.05.2023 - Update : 05.05.2023
Commonwealth nations increasingly at odds with monarchy as Charles III’s coronation looms


The coronation of King Charles III is around the corner and the globe looks forward to the event that will take place on May 6 in London.

Even though many citizens of the Commonwealth from many nations that make up the Anglophone community await the ceremonies with excitement, many have also grown discontent with the monarchy, and even with the idea of a monarchy itself.

The newly inducted King Charles is sovereign in 15 Commonwealth realms, namely 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, Tuvalu, and the UK. Through the notion of the “personal union,” which allows for a single person to reign over multiple entities, the monarch acts as the de jure head of state in all those 15 countries.

Republican movements, which call for the abolition of the monarchy and demand a democratically elected head of state, have sprouted up around those commonwealth nations, and especially after Queen Elizabeth II passed away, the debates surrounding the significance of the monarchy grew increasingly hotly contested.

Let’s take a look at how different nations in the Commonwealth approach the topic.


Canada stands out among all other Commonwealth nations due to its bilingual structure, with both English and French as official languages, and a province with a majority of French speakers: Quebec.

In the region with stronger ties to the Francophonie, an overwhelming majority wants the monarchy gone. A poll by Leger and the IRAI conducted in August 2022 showed that over 60% of Quebecers want the monarchy abolished.

A more recent survey conducted by Research, Co. in March 2023 showed that only 14% of Quebec dwellers want the monarchy to continue.

The rest of the country is no different than their Quebecer counterparts in terms of views on the British crown, which has a largely ceremonial role in Canada’s governance; albeit the office of the “governor-general” is deeply reminiscent of the colonial rule.

The Angus Reid Institute, a not-for-profit organization commissioning research and opinion polls in the country, found in a poll last month that only two in five people in Canada were in favor of recognizing the reign of Charles III. What is more, a whopping 64% said they were against swearing an oath to King Charles at official ceremonies and singing “God Save the King.”

The institute also found that a staggering 62% were against putting the new king’s face on the Canadian dollar.


There has been a Republican movement in Australia since 1991, which has strived to make the country, whose official name is the colonial-sounding Commonwealth of Australia, a republic that elects its own head of state.

A poll by Ipsos conducted in December 2022 found that over 54% of Aussies want the monarchy to be abolished, with the new sovereign even less popular than his predecessor.

Nearly after 25 years after the country voted against cutting ties with the British crown, the tide seems to have turned, especially after the relatively popular Queen Elizabeth II’s death.

Last year, in a historic first, the country appointed its assistant minister for the republic, Matt Thistlethwaite. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese also said that a republic is “inevitable” for the country – and the monarchy is less popular than ever among the Aussie populace.

With the country’s Indigenous population and their oppression during the colonial times under the spotlight more than ever, the country might be on the verge of doing away with the British crown.

What is more, the new Australian $5 note will replace the sovereign with a design honoring the Indigenous people, meaning that King Charles III’s portrait will not be on any of the denominations.

New Zealand

Former Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern, who has recently stepped down, previously alluded to the monarchy-free future of the nation.

“I do believe that is where New Zealand will head in time. I believe it is likely to occur in my lifetime but I don't see it as a short-term measure or anything that is on the agenda anytime soon,” Ardern said with regards to whether the country will abolish its ties to the British crown.

With its Indigenous Maori community, who also suffered at the hands of the imperial British Empire, the country is closer than ever to the idea of abolishing the monarchy, even though the pro-monarchy camp seems to be ahead in a recent Lord Ashcroft poll.

Accordingly, things are not so clear-cut in the island nation, with 44% of New Zealanders saying they would vote to keep the monarchy, while 34% said they would vote to become a republic.

The remainder said they were undecided on the topic or would not vote.


The Caribbeans have historically had anti-monarchy movements. Now that King Charles III is at the helm, the popularity of the crown hit rock bottom. On Nov. 30, 2021, Barbados took the bold step and the monarchy was abolished – with the country becoming a republic within the Commonwealth, with a president as its head of state.

Jamaica intended to remove the British monarch as the country’s head of state last year, and members of a constitutional reform committee to make the country a republic were appointed.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited the Bahamas, Belize, and Jamaica in March 2022, facing criticism and calls for the abolition of the monarchy at every opportunity.

While many Caribbean nations insist that reparatory justice for the oppression caused by the British monarchy requires both compensation and a formal recognition of the monarchy’s role in the slave trade, republican movements continue to grow all around the globe, in dominions where King Charles III remains the head of state.

Whether he will be able to bring the Commonwealth together under his personal union is yet to be observed.

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