On November 30 (tomorrow), Barbados will officially replace Queen Elizabeth as their head of state. There has been a lot of grumbling from many commonwealth countries, especially the commonwealth countries which still have the British monarch as their head of state (Australia, Canada, etc) Barbados decided to do something about it and they voted in a new elected head of state, President Sandra Mason. There’s going to be a formal handover ceremony in Barbados on Tuesday and it looks like Prince Charles will make the trip. The royals are in their feelings about all of this.
The sun will set on a corner of the British empire this week, as Barbados formally replaces the queen as head of state with an elected president. The monarchy has munificently given its blessing to the departing realm, despite the queen saying she felt “sadness” and Prince Charles, who will attend the handover, admitting to “a twinge of regret” at the turn of events.
Dame Sandra Mason, the governor-general, will be sworn in as president Tuesday.
The Sunday Times quotes a source as saying: “The queen knows the world changes and moves on, Barbados is a symbol of that and she rolls with it. But there will be a tinge of reflection and sadness, as it is severing another link with the past.”
A royal aide said: “As Her Majesty embraced independence and welcomed countries to the Commonwealth, the Prince of Wales’ presence and the message that will be sent to the president from Her Majesty, shows it is a respected decision. They may have moved out of the street but they are still very much in the community.”
A source close to Charles told the paper: “He is sanguine about it—he doesn’t see it as a rejection of him personally but there is perhaps a twinge of regret and a sense that a link is being weakened. As the next head of the Commonwealth, the prince is determined it should be more than an emotional thing; it should be a practical thing that helps countries with issues like trade and climate change. If the realms were all going off to leave the Commonwealth, he’d be desperately sad, but that’s not the case.”
Another source close to Charles said: “He is pragmatic about realms going their own way. But he won’t like the aesthetics if lots more start to follow Barbados.”
The “commonwealth” Charles inherits will be young, multiethnic, multicultural and full of hatred for Salt Island. In truth, many commonwealth countries are only keeping their historic ties to the UK out of respect for Queen Elizabeth. While I don’t think it will be a “free for all” in the commonwealth when QEII is gone, it’s going to be a lot different. More like death by a thousand paper cuts for King Charles, as decades of commonwealth grudges are aired in the first months and years of his reign. There will be some exits, and I do suspect that Australia will remove the monarch as their head of state in my lifetime (and Charles’ lifetime). Still, Charles is handling it the best way – diplomatically, with grace and acceptance. Y’all know someone is sitting in Kensington Palace, incandescent with rage at the thought of HIS colonies leaving.
Photos courtesy of Instar.