The World Today for February 16, 2022

NEED TO KNOW

Her Majesty’s Prerogative

UNITED KINGDOM

Queen Elizabeth recently announced plans for a weekend in June to celebrate her platinum jubilee, or 70 years on the throne, the longest reign in British history. As the queen’s website detailed, festivities include a tree-planting initiative called the Queen’s Green Canopy and the Platinum Pudding Competition featuring uniquely British dishes that could involve savory sausages or sweet cream.

The queen has been an “anchor in a storm-tossed Britain,” according to the New York Times, owing to her role as a calming presence from the years of decolonization after World War II when the country suffered economic and political diminution to the ructions of Brexit today.

Still, despite her popularity, which endured the death of Princess Diana, the separation of her grandson, Harry, from the royal family and her recent decision to allow her son Prince Charles’ wife, Camilla, to assume the title of Queen Consort after she exits the palace, some of Elizabeth’s subjects want to fire her.

Barbados recently became a republic, with a president rather than Elizabeth as head of state, for example. The move was a repudiation of the Caribbean nation’s colonial past, the Associated Press said.

The co-leader of New Zealand’s Maori Party, which ostensibly represents the interests of the country’s indigenous community, recently called for the abolishment of the queen as head of state, too, according to the Washington Post. “The only way this nation can work is when Maori assert their rights to self-management, self-determination and self-governance over all our domains,” said Rawiri Waititi.

But the 15 countries that still retain the British monarch as their highest officeholder have erected numerous legal and bureaucratic hurdles that make republicanism a tough goal, Reuters wrote. Removing Queen Elizabeth as Canada’s head of state, for example, would require constitutional amendments and ratifications in 10 provinces and three territories.

Politics is another issue. Jamaican polls similarly suggest that the country would be open to ousting the British monarch from their political system, too. But lawmakers there, while paying lip service to the idea, never bring it to fruition because they use the monarchy as a wedge issue to rally voters who might oppose or support the idea depending on whether they are trying to hold onto power or unseat their opponents.

News that Queen Elizabeth used a prerogative called “Queen’s consent” to alter laws in Britain that allowed her to conceal her private wealth from the public has raised interest in republicanism in Britain again, wrote Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee. Queen Elizabeth would likely have to approve any law abolishing her post, however, reported Insider, a publication formerly called Business Insider.

Anchors don’t bend. Unless there’s pudding.

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