On Sept. 9, 2022, a monarch of the British family, Queen Elizabeth II, passed away unexpectedly. The Queen’s death marks the end of the longest-serving monarch in British history and the second-longest monarch of a sovereign country. And with such a monumental period coming to an end, a question raised by the British people and countries around the world remains: what is next?
Preparations for the death of the queen, an operation entitled “London Bridge” was put into place years prior to her majesty’s death, outlining the day of the queen’s passing down to the very minute. Yet, the plan does not outline a clear indication as to what is next for the monarch and its international territories. Countries in the Caribbean have already made abundantly clear their wants for complete independence prior to the death of the Queen, especially Jamaica. Jamaica, which has been a part of the British commonwealth since its independence from Britain in 1962, outlined to Prince William and his wife Kate during their visit in March its plans to become a republic. As stated by Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness to Prince Charles, “Jamaica is as you would see a country that is very proud… and we’re moving on. And we intend… to fulfill our true ambition of being an independent, fully developed and prosperous country.” This widespread want for complete independence in the Caribbean as reflected by Jamaica comes after Barbados made a bold deposition of the British queen as a head of state back in November of 2021, officially making the country its own republic.
Alongside wants for independence in the Caribbean is the want for a redress of the horror that was slavery. This is what Jamaican prime minister Holness references when he says, “there are issues here which as you would know are unresolved.” This sentiment has been shared by the rest of the Caribbean commonwealth countries that have suffered under the stained legacy of slavery at the hands of the British monarchy which they feel they should be compensated. Political scientists have often pointed to slavery as the cause for political, social, and economic stuntment in the Caribbean region while the proprietors of the transatlantic slave trade such as the British Monarchy remained wealthy. As a result, it was announced in 2021 by the longest serving parliamentarian in Jamaican history, lawmaker Mike Henry, that Jamaica plans to petition for an estimated 7.6 billion in reparations to the head of the commonwealth (which was Queen Elizabeth at the time). While it remains unknown if the petition is still being brought forth to the British Government, it is very unlikely that the new head of the British government, Prince Charles, would grant such a petition. On top of the international territories that may be questioning their status after the passing of the queen, more generally, the world stage continues to question the importance of any monarchical system in the 21st century. A Newsweek article reported that according to a 2022 statistic questioning those in favor of abolishing the monarchy in the U.K., young people have become increasingly more supportive of abolishment than in prior years. As stated by the article, “Within the 18- to 24-year-old age range, 40 percent wanted to abolish the monarchy compared to 37 percent who supported continuing with it” (Queen Has ‘Huge Problem’ as Support for Abolishing Monarchy Rises, 2022). Statistics for support of the monarchy by the more general population of the U.K., however, were not any more promising. As stated further in the article, “The research suggested 27 percent wanted to abolish the monarchy compared with 60 percent in favor of keeping it” (2022). The research collected in the Newsweek article may reflect that those commonwealth countries of the U.K. and the wider world, in general, may have had enough of the monarchy of Britain. Especially following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, it remains unclear how the legacy of the royal family will carry on, especially as the crown transitions to a less liked Prince Charles. Such a transition may promote British territories to depose the monarchy as their heads of government now more than ever.