Will the Commonwealth survive under Charles? POLL
Australian PM says King Charles III will ‘focus on Commonwealth’
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In the wake of Queen Elizabeth II’s death, the future role of the Commonwealth in the 21st century has been questioned. But will the Commonwealth survive under King Charles III? Vote in our poll.
Charles replaced his mother as head of the Commonwealth, and when he was named successor of the role in 2018, said he was “deeply touched”.
On Saturday, he welcomed Commonwealth leaders at Buckingham Palace, which signalled the start of his role with the organisation.
The Commonwealth was formed in 1949 as a “free and equal” community of British colonies.
It currently has 56 members and covers two billion people — equivalent to a quarter of the world’s population.
Just 14 Commonwealth “realms” have the British Monarch as head of state, including Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
Today, the Commonwealth describes itself as “a voluntary association of 56 independent and equal countries” whose “governments have agreed to shared goals like development, democracy and peace”. Membership of countries not part of the former empire is now permitted.
However, the future of the organisation is under threat as last year, Barbados became the first country in almost 30 years to remove the Queen as head of state and became a republic.
This has caused other members of the Commonwealth to question their position, with both Jamaica and Antigua and Barbuda promising to hold referendums on becoming republics shortly.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Arden said she expects her country to eventually become a republic, but action will not be taken anytime soon.
Philip Murphy, professor of British and Commonwealth history at the University of London, believes the Commonwealth will carry on during the King’s reign.
He told i news: “It serves sufficient marginal purposes, it’s not worth the bother of trying to close down.”
Similarly, the head of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, Sue Onslow, told Sky News that there is still a place for the Royal Family in the organisation’s future.
She said: “The accusation that the Commonwealth is simply Empire 2.0 is fundamentally wrong.
“It’s a soft power organisation which may seem irrelevant in today’s brutal geopolitics. But, actually, soft power organisations have a resilience, a flexibility and an informality which can provide policy space to help resolve world issues.”
However, she highlighted the need for reform, arguing: “It is at a crossroads at the moment. Its future will continue to evolve, but in which direction?”
She added: “Prince Charles has championed causes which are close to the Commonwealth heart – sustainability and the environment, climate change, young people – and has done a good job representing his mother at Commonwealth summits. But Queen Elizabeth will be a tough act to follow.”
On the other hand, Dr Meera Sabaratnam, Associate Professor in International Relations, at SOAS London University, claimed that the Royal Family’s role is not assured.
She told Sky News: “I think that [the Queen’s death] will give rise to thinking about a different kind of organisation if it indeed survives.”
So what do YOU think? Will the Commonwealth survive under Charles? Vote in our poll and leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
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