“No matter you consider the Commonwealth — colonial-era relic or modernizing establishment — I don’t suppose the queen’s dedication to the group can actually be doubted,” Christopher Prior, an affiliate professor of colonial and post-colonial historical past on the College of Southampton in the UK, mentioned in an e-mail to NBC Information.
However in recent times, former British colonies, particularly nations the place Black residents had been enslaved by their colonial masters, have been demanding accountability from the royal household, which grew to become fabulously wealthy on the backs of slaves.
So whereas there have been tributes to the queen all through the Commonwealth — on Thursday a whole lot gathered in an Anglican cathedral within the Ugandan capital of Kampala for a service honoring Elizabeth — there was simmering discontent, too.
In March, the now-heir to the throne, Prince William, his spouse, Kate, Prince Edward and the Countess of Wessex had been met with demonstrations and calls for for reparations for slavery whereas on a royal tour of the Caribbean that took them to former colonies Jamaica, Belize in addition to the Bahamas.
Many residents had been particularly incensed that their nations had been serving to pay for the royal tour.
“Why are we footing the invoice for the good thing about a regime whose rise to ‘greatness’ was fueled by the extinction, enslavement, colonization (sic), and degradation of the individuals of this land?” the Bahamas Nationwide Reparations Committee declared in an open letter. “Why are we being made to pay once more?”
In Australia, a Commonwealth nation the place many revered Queen Elizabeth, newly elected Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s authorities has already raised the potential of holding a referendum to jettison Charles and the monarchy and turn out to be a republic.
The identical goes for Canada, the place the assist for having a foreigner as head of state has additionally been eroding.
“I desire somebody from Windsor than the Home of Windsor” to be head of state, Flavio Volpe, president of Canada’s Automotive Elements Producers’ Affiliation, informed Reuters after Elizabeth died.
Windsor is a Canadian metropolis simply throughout the Detroit River from Motown.
The solar was already setting on the British Empire when Elizabeth took the throne in 1953. And through her 70-year reign, 17 nations discarded the monarchy and have become republics – the newest being the tiny island nation of Barbados earlier this yr – though it continues to be a part of the Commonwealth.
With Charles now king, that pattern is more likely to proceed, mentioned Prior. And there’s not a lot he can do about it.
“I don’t suppose that these conversations going down internationally are conversations that the brand new king would have quite a lot of management over,” Prior mentioned. “If we do have Commonwealth nations changing into republics, then that clearly additional takes away a number of the outdated imperial-era ties that initially sure the Commonwealth collectively within the first place.”
After World Struggle II, with many nations profitable independence from Britain, the fashionable Commonwealth was born.