(NEW YORK) — While the buzz ahead of Saturday’s coronation of King Charles III is palpable in London, across the 15 commonwealth countries where the monarch is head of state, this historic juncture appears to be a key moment of contemplation among the former British colonies as they weigh whether to become republic nations.
A recent poll by Lord Ashcroft, former chairman of the U.K.’s Conservative Party, shows that almost half of the countries in the commonwealth realm, which have Charles as their head of state, support the idea of ditching their constitutional monarchies.
In the survey, which interviewed 22,000 people in all commonwealth countries, six nations voted in favor of ditching the monarchy: Australia, Canada, Jamaica, the Bahamas, Solomon Islands, and Antigua and Barbuda.
While the Solomon Islands is staunchly Republican, with 59% saying they would abolish the monarchy, England seems to be firmly supporting the status quo, with 57% in favor of remaining a constitutional monarch.
In addition to being sovereign of the United Kingdom and 15 Commonwealth realms, Charles is also the head of the Commonwealth, a voluntary association of 54 independent countries.
There is a clear effort to involve the commonwealth in the coronation, with the Palace announcing that nearly 400 Armed Forces personnel from commonwealth countries are taking part in the 6,000-strong parade leading the king back to Buckingham Palace from Westminster Abbey.
However, the main Republic group in the United Kingdom has made clear their intentions to protest on Trafalgar Square and along the route of the procession on Saturday, telling ABC News they expect a crowd of around 2,000 people to join the demonstration.
“We are determined to make our voices heard on the day,” Republic UK Chief Executive Graham Smith told ABC News. “There will be yellow placards, speeches, banners and large chants of ‘Not My King’.”
When asked for his thoughts on the planned anti-monarchy protest, Security Minister Tom Tugendhat said, “They have the liberty that anybody in the United Kingdom has to protest. What they don’t have the liberty to do is to disrupt others.”
Smith says he believes support for the monarchy has been waning since the death last year of Queen Elizabeth II.
“She was the monarchy, and the monarchy was her,” Smith said. “Charles just isn’t the queen. For a lot of people, the monarchy died when she died.”
During Elizabeth’s 70-year reign, she visited nearly every country in the Commonwealth — missing only Cameroon and Rwanda — and made many repeat visits, according to the royal family’s official website.
Smith predicts that Jamaica will be the next country to jettison the monarch, adding that Australia is the one to watch, because “as a bigger democracy, other nations will be inspired to follow suit.”
While Australia is set to commemorate the coronation with a 21-gun salute and a flypast by the Royal Australian Airforce, celebrations will be toned down.
Australia’s current prime minister, Anthony Albanese, has made it known that he is in favor of the country becoming a republic and has not ruled out holding a referendum on the matter in the future.
Unlike Elizabeth, Charles’ face will not be featured on Australian bank notes.
Australia’s Central Bank announced that its new $5 bill — the only remaining bank note to still feature an image of the monarch — is to feature an indigenous design as opposed to an image of Charles.
In a statement sent to ABC News, Australia’s Republic Movement Co-chairman Craig Foster said the main focus of the coronation is “to ensure that every Australian is aware that they have a foreign King as their Head of State, since around thirty percent of Australians were not aware of this fact.”
Some voices in Australia’s indigenous communities, known as the country’s First Nations people, have expressed apathy towards the coronation, pointing out that their land was stolen under the crown when British settlers first arrived in Australia.
With the conversation around the rights of First Nations people picking up steam in Australia, Foster says the coronation is, “an opportunity to think about our broader path forward and need for full and final independence.”
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