Antigua and Barbuda to Hold Referendum to Remove King Charles III as Head of State

The Prime Minister of the Caribbean nation says the vote will come within the next three years.

The prime minister of the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne, has promised to hold a referendum on whether to remove King Charles III as the head of state within the next three years, according to  ITV News. The decision to throw off the vestiges of its connection to the British monarchy and let the people vote to become a republic, he said, was not meant to  “represent any form of disrespect to the monarch. This is not an act of hostility, or any difference between Antigua and Barbuda and the monarchy.”

Despite gaining independence from the United Kingdom in 1981, the nation remains part of the Commonwealth, a 56-member organization of mostly former British territories. King Charles III was confirmed last weekend (Sept. 10) as the King of Antigua and Barbuda.

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Browne said this would mark “a final step to complete the circle of independence to become a truly sovereign nation.”

Queen Elizabeth’s youngest son, Edward, and his wife Sophie visited the island in April. According to the Antigua Newsroom, Browne spoke with the royals about paying reparations to the former colony, and made it clear that the nation would consider cutting ties with the monarchy once Charles became king.

There is precedent for such a step.  In November 2021, Barbados became the first country to drop the queen as its head of state in some thirty years. No other country has done so since Mauritius severed its ties with the Crown in 1992. Both nations have remained part of the Commonwealth.

The death of the Queen has led to increased debate over the role of the monarchy in the modern day.  The king holds a symbolic role as head of state, but the operation of the government is conducted by the Commonwealth nations themselves.

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