Royal crisis: Why Commonwealth could turn on Royal Family after Megxit


PRINCE HARRY and Meghan Markle have thrown the future of the Royal Family into doubt – and the crisis could help provoke key Commonwealth realms Canada and Australia to finally break away from the monarchy in years to come.

Harry and Meghan have sparked heated discussion both in the UK and abroad, with their unprecedented royal resignation. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have moved to Vancouver, Canada, making many in the Commonwealth country question their relationship to the Royal Family. When the Queen’s reign ends, the 16 Commonwealth countries that retain the British monarch as Head of State need to signal their acceptance of her replacement.

However, crisis has gripped the Royal Family in recent months and the popularity of the monarchy is largely tied to the figure of the Queen herself in many Commonwealth realms, the future of the monarchy remains unclear. 

Prince Charles has not been seen to be a strong ruling force in recent weeks, with many royal commentators pointing out the Prince of Wales’ ineffective handling of both Prince Harry and Prince Andrew.

Additionally, many royal experts previously predicted that Harry would become a more central royal figure within Commonwealth countries as he took on more senior royal duties in the future – something that now cannot happen as he has renounced all royal roles. 

According to an Ipsos poll conducted for Canadian outlet Global News in 2017, half of Canadians believe that Canada should end its ties to the monarchy when the Queen’s reign ends. 

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle; Queen Elizabeth II

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle; Queen Elizabeth II (Image: Getty)

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at Canada House in London this month (Image: Getty)

It found that about 61 percent of Canadians believe that the Queen and Royal Family should not have any formal role in Canadian society, as “the royals are simply celebrities and nothing more”.

Harry and Meghan’s move across the pond to Vancouver Island this month has also provoked a fresh look in Canada about how the monarchy fits into the country’s constitution. 

Many Canadian publications have been critical – although Harry himself remains the second most popular member of the Royal Family in Canada, behind the Queen. 

Added to this, the royal exit has stirred up fresh debate in Canada about aristocratic titles, which were abolished in the country in 1911. 

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in Australia – many posited the couple would go on to represent the Queen in the Commonwealth before their royal exit was announced (Image: Getty)


Harry and Meghan retain their titles as Duke and Duchess of Sussex – something which ordinary Canadian citizens would not be able to do.

Canadian citizenship must be renounced in order to accept a new noble title, and inherited titles are generally not recognised in Canada. 

The cost of security and other measures for the Duke and Duchess is another sticking point with Canadians. 

A poll conducted in Canada this month showed that 74 percent of Canadians did not want to foot he bill for the costs of the Duke and Duchess’ security, according to the Daily Mail. 

Line of Succession

Line of Succession (Image: DX)

Canada’s opinion on the monarchy, and its popularity being tied to the Queen herself, is mirrored by Australia as well.

Canada and Australia are the most populous countries in the Commonwealth to still retain the monarch as their head of state.

Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard once indicated that the country could abolish the monarchy after the Queen’s reign comes to an end.

Constitutional expert Robert Blackburn, in his 2006 book “King and Country: Monarchy and the future King Charles III” commented on this “highly significant expression of political opinion”, which took place during the Queen’s 2006 tour of Australia.

Professor Blackburn wrote: “In this  interview, the pro-monarchist Mr Howard drew a line between Elizabeth II and Charles III in terms of the future of the monarchy.

“Describing the constitutional monarchy as a ‘very good institution for delivering a non-political head of state’, he went on to say, ‘I do not believe Australia will become a republic while the Queen is on the throne. 

“He then added, ‘Beyond that, I do not know.’

“This could be interpreted suggesting that such loyalty and support for the monarchy as exists in Australia, itself fairly fragile and largely to be found on the conservative side of the political divide, is firmly attached to the person of Queen Elizabeth. 

“Clearly, it is questionable whether the monarchy will survive in Australia, or be wanted by the political establishment there, when Charles III becomes the King of Australia at the same time as monarch of the UK.”