Speed Reads

kicking out the crown

Prince William says he supports Caribbean realms that want to become republics

Prince William, the eldest grandson of Queen Elizabeth and second in line to the throne, said Friday during a visit to the Bahamas that he would support the queen's Caribbean realms if they chose to become republics, Reuters reported.

"Next year, I know you are all looking forward to celebrating 50 years of independence — your Golden Anniversary," he said in Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas, according to the Independent. "And with Jamaica celebrating 60 years of independence this year, and Belize celebrating 40 years of independence last year, I want to say this: We support with pride and respect your decisions about your future. Relationships evolve. Friendship endures."

The Bahamas, Belize, and Jamaica are independent in the sense of being self-governing. The queen is head of state, but plays no direct role in governance.

In November, Barbados became a republic when it removed the queen as head of state and replaced her with an elected president. On Wednesday, Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness told William that Jamaica wishes to do the same, according to Reuters.

The royal visit to the Caribbean Commonwealth realms has drawn protests over Britain's colonial past. "During her 70 years on the throne, your grandmother has done nothing to redress and atone for the suffering of our ancestors that took place during her reign and/or during the entire period of British trafficking of Africans, enslavement, indentureship and colonialization," a group of Jamaican leaders wrote in an open letter to William that called for "atonement and reparations."

William said in a speech in Jamaica that "[s]lavery was abhorrent" and "should never have happened."

During Elizabeth's reign, 18 countries, including Pakistan, Ghana, Kenya, and Mauritius have all removed her as head of state, mostly through the adoption of new constitutions or constitutional amendments. She remains queen of 15 realms, the most populous of which are the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and Jamaica.