In a big announcement this week, the Caribbean nation of Barbados is planning to walk out of the Commonwealth and remove Queen Elizabeth II as the head of state. The Queen is the “constitutional monarch” of Barbados since her independence on 30 November 1966. As the sovereign, she is the personal embodiment of the Barbadian Crown.
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Barbados walks out of Commonwealth
Barbados’ Governor-General, Sandra Mason, gave a speech on Tuesday at the state opening of Parliament, explaining that “the time has come to fully leave our colonial past behind.” Mason, reading from a speech written by Barbados’ Prime Minister, Mia Motteley, said that the plan is for the country to become a republic, and that it could happen as early as November 2021, which would coincide with the 55th anniversary of when Barbados gained independence in 1966, reported CNN.
“Barbadians want a Barbadian Head of State. This is the ultimate statement of confidence in who we are and what we are capable of achieving,” Mason said. “Hence, Barbados will take the next logical step toward full sovereignty and become a republic by the time we celebrate our 55th anniversary of independence.”
Monarchy of Barbados
The Queen is the “constitutional monarch” of Barbados since her independence on 30 November 1966, per the Royal Family’s official website. As the sovereign, she is the personal embodiment of the Barbadian Crown. Although the person of the sovereign is equally shared with 15 other independent countries within the Commonwealth of Nations, each country’s monarchy is separate and legally distinct.
As a result, the current monarch is officially titled Queen of Barbados and, in this capacity, she, her husband, and other members of the Royal Family undertake public and private functions domestically and abroad as representatives of the Barbadian state.
However, the Queen is the only member of the Royal Family with any constitutional role. The Queen lives predominantly in the United Kingdom and, while several powers are the sovereign’s alone, most of the royal governmental and ceremonial duties in Barbados are carried out by the Queen’s representative, the governor-general.
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Many in Barbados have wanted to remove Queen Elizabeth’s status as head of state for quite some time, as they see it as the “symbolic presence of imperialism,” according to CNN. Mauritius is the last country to drop the Queen as head of state, which it did in 1992.
A Commonwealth Realm is a country which has The Queen as its Monarch. There are 15 Commonwealth Realms in addition to the UK, per the Royal Family’s official website.
Some of the powers of the Crown are exercisable by the monarch (such as appointing governors-general) and others by the governor-general (such as calling parliamentary elections).
List of Commonwealth Realms
- The Bahamas
- Barbados (planning to quit)
- New Zealand
- Papua New Guinea
- St Christopher and Nevis
- St Lucia
Interestingly, the Royal Family website displays only 12 nations in the Commonwealth Realms out of 15. Which are the other 3?
Is your nation also a dominion of the Commonwealth? Let us know in the comments below.
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