When it comes to Jamaica, “God save the King?” isn’t a phrase likely to be heard this upcoming weekend. In fact, the coronation of King Charles III, due to take place on 6 May 2023, may have indeed accelerated Jamaica’s plans to finally break away from the British monarchy and become a republic—something the nation has been working towards for some time.
According to Sky News, Jamaican officials and politicians are keen to hold a referendum on the matter “as early as 2024.” The country’s minister for legal and constitutional affairs, Marlene Malahoo Forte, recently stated: “While the United Kingdom is celebrating the coronation of the King, that is for the United Kingdom. Jamaica is looking to write a new constitution… which will sever ties with the monarch as our head of state.”
The country has been considering breaking away from the British monarchy for decades now. Former Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, tried to cut ties with the institution in 2012 and attempted to establish a republic and rid Jamaica of all previous colonial powers. However, the plans never came to fruition.
The story of Jamaica’s struggle for independence is deeply intertwined with its history of colonialism and the transatlantic slave trade. As reported by Sky News, the National Library of Jamaica has found that around 600,000 captive Africans were forcibly brought to Jamaica during this time, with Britain emerging as one of the largest slave traders in the Atlantic in the 18th century.
This legacy of exploitation and oppression has left a lasting impact on the country, shaping its social, economic, and political landscape to this day. It’s a reminder that the fight for Jamaican sovereignty is not just a matter of breaking away from the British monarchy, but also a struggle against a history of injustice and inequality.
Prince William, on his trip to Jamaica last year, was met with a demonstration outside the British High Commission, at which protesters called for an apology and an acknowledgment of how the family has benefited from slavery.
Malahoo Forte, while discussing plans to pursue the referendum in 2024, further went on to note: “A lot of Jamaicans had warm affection and identified with Queen Elizabeth II. When Jamaica became independent, Queen Elizabeth was already on the throne. But they do not identify with King Charles. He is as foreign as it gets to us. Plain and simple.”
The minister added: “It’s time for us to say goodbye.” Pursuing self-determination in Jamaica and initiating a proper detachment from the British monarchy during the King’s coronation has given fresh impetus to this civilian and political movement. Becoming a republic would give Jamaicans greater control over their own affairs and mark a significant step towards true independence.
If the Caribbean nation were to become a republic, it would mean that the country would have its own head of state, who would be elected by the people or appointed by the government. This would mark a significant break from the country’s colonial past.
While an official timeline for a referendum is not yet set in stone, the likelihood of it taking place in less than a year is ambitious yet potentially possible. If the referendum were to be successful, Jamaica would become the latest country in the Caribbean to break away from the British monarchy, following in the footsteps of Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica, and Guyana.
So, as King Charles prepares for his coronation, many Jamaicans are focused on their own path towards greater freedom. And with interest and loyalty in the monarchy seriously depreciating, both at home and abroad, it’s unknown how impactful or influential King Charles’ reign will even be. The winds of change are blowing, and Jamaica is ready to embrace them.
On Saturday 6 May 2023, something pretty momentous is going to happen—and no, it isn’t the kickoff of Eurovision, that’s on 9 May. In four days we’re going to officially stop having a Queen as Monarch, and instead we’re going to have a King. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no raging royalist. However, I’m thinking it’s going to be even harder to crush the patriarchy with a King in charge.
Brits have been preparing for the coronation of King Charles III for a long time now, in fact ever since Queen Elizabeth II died, we’ve been predicting how the festivities will play out—and of course how many bank holidays we’ll be getting. So, with the event just around the corner, we thought it’d be a good idea to run through three things everyone needs to know about the coronation, such as how much the entire thing is actually going to cost.
It’s no secret that the UK is currently in the midst of an incredibly difficult and gruelling cost of living crisis and that Brits are currently paying the highest electricity bills in the entire world. According to national charity Crisis, the combination of existing issues such as rising rents, low wages and lack of affordable housing, alongside high inflation and mounting energy costs, has resulted in an unrelenting pressure on people across the country.
So, you can imagine the nation’s surprise when it was revealed that the Crown would be spending over £100 million of taxpayer money on the highly opulent and simply unnecessary ceremony. The UK is not only facing extreme poverty levels, but we’re also having to cope with swathes of NHS worker strikes—a direct consequence of a lack of funding and fair pay from the British government.
A recent YouGov poll, which surveyed 3,000 adults, showed that 35 per cent stated they “do not care very much” about the historic event, and a further 29 per cent said they “do not care at all.”
What’s even more ludacris is that some supporters of the Royal family have suggested that the King has really scaled back the coronation, due to his sympathy for those struggling financially at the moment. Scaled back? Make it make sense, please.
Let’s also not forget the £400 million it’s going to cost to print legions of new stamps with King Charles’ face on them. The Royal family have never had any issues rinsing the pockets of British taxpayers, but to put on such a grandiose event—which will also feature two golden gilded stage coaches—during one of the most serious economic crises the UK has faced, just feels like a new low.
If it wasn’t cringe enough to host a massive ceremony, invite tons of nobility, and livestream it across the nation, (attention seeker much) King Charles will also be inviting the public to swear their allegiance to him during the coronation.
As reported by Sky News, the Archbishop of Canterbury, during the ceremony, will call on those watching or listening to the event to take part in a “great cry around the nation and around the world of support for the King.”
The pledge is supposed to act as the people’s opportunity to pay “homage” to the monarch. Some netizens recently took to TikTok to impress upon people how worrying this prospect actually is.
Now, while I definitely won’t be pledging my personal allegiance, I think the homage is more of an ego-stroke for Charles rather than anything too overtly sinister—the Royal’s annual access to £86.3 million of taxpayer money is realistically far more frightening.
After Elton John, Harry Styles and Adele all turned down the opportunity to perform at King Charles’ coronation, you might have thought that the monarch’s event team may have had to instead put together one of the most bizarre and eclectic musical lineups of all time—and you’d be right.
Due to perform at the coronation is: Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, Take That, and Tiwa Savage (who’ll be the first Nigerian artist to be invited to perform at a foreign royal coronation ceremony).
A myriad of musical performances will take place over the course of three days. Twitter users were particularly thrilled to see Savage on the line-up for the coronation.
However, some other fans of the Queen of Afrobeats artist were less pleased: One user wrote: “I’m not trying to be a hater but why the hell did Tiwa Savage accept to perform at the coronation??!? Literally almost everyone they asked declined. Last minute inclusivity.”
Wherever you sit regarding that particular discussion, Savage’s participation in the coronation is definitely something to note and recognise. And, her presence and performance is also likely to be the most entertaining aspect of the entire weekend, so, maybe I’ll tune in just for that part.