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Go off, king: Antigua and Barbuda set to put monarchy to the public vote

Hot new bombshell Charles could be dumped from the islands

The prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne, has said that the country will have a referendum on whether to become a republic following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

Browne made the comments minutes after signing a document which confirmed Charles III’s status as the new King. Browne stated that becoming a republic would mark the “final step to complete the circle of independence to become a truly sovereign nation” but stressed a referendum was “not an act of hostility” and would not involve retiring Commonwealth membership.

Browne went on to say that a vote could take place within three years, and he intends to introduce the referendum if re-elected next year. (It’s extremely likely Browne will be re-elected, as his party holds 15 of the 17 seats in the House of Representatives.)

Browne had also hinted at the possibility of calling a referendum on the matter earlier this year, during a visit by the Earl and Countess of Wessex. Gaston Browne pressed Prince Edward on whether he and his wife Sophie would use their “diplomatic influence” to push for the payment of slavery reparations to Britain’s former colonies, and also told the couple that Antigua and Barbuda would become a republic “one day”.

In addition to the UK, King Charles serves as head of state in 14 countries: 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.

But in the wake of the Queen’s passing, many countries are now reconsidering the role of monarchy. Last year, Barbados swore in its first president after the Queen was removed as head of state by the country’s parliament. Meanwhile, in Jamaica, the ruling Labour Party says its goal is to hold a referendum on becoming a republic.

Royalists may contend that it is ‘too soon’ to be having these sorts of discussions, but this transitional period is arguably the perfect time to be asking questions about the future of monarchy and, specifically, its future in nations where the monarch of the United Kingdom is still head of state.