Monday, 27 Mar 2023

King faces questions on Coronation as anti-monarchists stage protest

Anti-monarchy protests ‘crass’ says John McTernan

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About 30 anti-monarchy activists are espected to stage protests outside Westminster Abbey, holding placards and shouting at King Charles as he delivers his Commonwealth Day message. Graham Smith of the anti-monarchy group Republic will be leading the group and said he plans to shout questions to the monarch at the “pointless parade” over the need to hold a multi-million pound Coronation during the cost of living crisis.

Instead of a Coronation, the anti-monarchy activist told Britain should be holding a public debate on the future of the monarchy.

Discussing Republic’s protests, Mr Smith told this website: “There will be noise. And I will be loudly shouting with a mic at Charles asking him questions, and say to him: ‘Why don’t you come and talk to us and answer those questions and why don’t you agree to a live debate?’

“We’re going to be right outside the entrance of Westminster Abbey. There will be at least 30 of us with plan carts.”

King Charles will be aiming to unite the 54 Commonwealth countries and their 2.5 billion citizens today as some nations have already hinted at referendums and constitutional reforms to ditch the monarchy.

Since Barbados became a republic in 2021, several other Caribbean nations, including Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, The Bahamas, Grenada, and Jamaica, as well as Canada, Australia and New Zealand, have made suggestions that they may hold referendums in the near future on leaving the British monarchy or on constitutional changes that would enable them to become republics.

King Charles still has authority over 14 countries, including Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, 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.

But that number could soon shrink with all seven Caribbean countries hinting at a breakaway as well as Australia and New Zealand.

This will likely create a domino effect, according to Mr Smith, who said it is a sign that the Crown is becoming “irrelevant”.

He said: “The monarchy and the royals are deeply implicated in slavery and empire. And the estimated 650 million pound fortune that Charles inherited without paying any taxes last year – a large part of that would have been inherited from slavery.”

Republic’s spokesperson also threatened more protests in the lead-up to the King’s Coronation to scrap what he described as a “pointless parade” that will cost “£50-100million” and is “entirely unnecessary”.

Pointing to a recent Savanta poll, he said fewer than 50 percent of those under 45s support the monarchy, making his case more compelling.

“Increasingly people are either losing interest in the royals or turning against them. Instead of a pointless, expensive, coronation, we need a serious public debate.

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“We believe the British public should be asked, do you want Charles or a choice? The tide is starting to turn against the monarchy and we need a serious debate about its future.”

He continued: “Recent polls have shown support among people under 45 has dropped below 50 percent. There is a clear need for a full, informed public debate.

“Republic will be protesting at the coronation, driving home the message that this is not a national celebration, but the promotion of the monarchy at huge cost to the taxpayer. The time for change is here.”

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