Kate and Prince William are monarchy’s ‘secret weapon’ amid republican threat

Prince Charles: Experts discuss plans for monarchy

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Kate and Prince William will likely be able to “anchor” the monarchy in Australia and New Zealand following the end of the Queen’s reign, according to a royal historian. Dr Ed Owens noted how the republican movement Down Under has become more vocal and active over the past few years.

And he believes this flurry of activities to be linked to the twilight of the Queen’s reign.

While he noted there is a deep and personal connection linking Australia and New Zealand to Elizabeth II, these countries are less enamoured of Prince Charles.

As a consequence, the arrival of the Prince of Wales on the throne may embolden the already active republican movements in these countries – in particular in Australia – and spark new calls in favour of an elected head of state.

However, the honorary research associate at the Centre for the Study of Modern Monarchy at Royal Holloway university added that the monarchy has its very own “secret weapon” in the form of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to fend off the republican threat and rekindle the love for the monarchy across the Crown’s realms.

He said the pair’s past joint visit to Oceania showed that this secret weapon has already been deployed over the past years.

He told Express.co.uk: “The monarchy still does have a secret weapon.

“The secret weapon isn’t King Charles III but is King William V.

“I think there is still a great deal of affection for the British royals in Australia, we have already witnessed recent tours by the Cambridges to Australia and New Zealand and that is in anticipation of these kinds of problems. 

“They are trying to build a sort of emotional loyalty to the British monarchy and this role this monarchy is continuing to play in Australia and New Zealand.

“Charles is going to be the problem as he is not as well liked as William and Catherine, so they are already trying to build a reservoir of good will in anticipation of the fact that Charles will be next, conversations will almost certainly escalate as to whether he should be head of state of these nations but I think what will be anchoring the monarchy in these countries will be that William is not in a so distance future.

“I think there is a lot of interest and good feelings towards William and his family.

“Apart from the Queen he is by far the most popular member of the British Royal Family.”

While he conceded the Prince of Wales’ coronation could have a positive impact on republicanism, he does not believe his reign, likely to be much shorter than the Queen’s will bring upon the loss of Australia and New Zealand for the Crown.

He said: “Prince Charles will open the floodgates, there will be questions asked but I don’t think they will result in a change of status.” 

Prince William has visited Australia and New Zealand multiple times over the past three decades – last in 2019, when he paid tribute to the victims of the Christchurch terror attack.

He famously first set foot in the nations in 1983, when he accompanied Prince Charles and Princess Diana in their lengthy tour of the two countries.

He has so far been accompanied in a tour of the southern hemisphere by Kate only once, in April 2014. 

Mirroring Charles and Diana, the Cambridges also brought with them their first son, Prince George, born in July 2013.

Dr Owens stressed that any growth in republican movements across the Queen’s realms would take several years to be translated into a vote on an elected head of state.

Australia rejected the idea of ditching the Queen as its head of state in a referendum held in 1999.

In March, the Australian Republican Movement (ARM) announced its plans to set out a model for a republic and spoke of its hopes for a referendum to be called within a year of the end of the Queen’s reign.  

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