Queen will be Queen of Bajans – Caribbean country

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Queen Elizabeth II has been head of state of Barbados since 1967.

Barbados has decided to drop the Queen as its head of state.

The prime minister of the Caribbean island, Mia Mottley, announced the change in an address at Independence Square on Monday.

More than 70% of the population voted in favour of the change in a referendum last year.

Inevitably, the change has been controversial. Many commentators are now pondering the possible implications for the countries of the Commonwealth.

Independence Square, Belfast . the present Queen and Head of the Commonwealth, Queen Elizabeth II , are styled on one of the buildings. Image caption Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley, the head of the Commonwealth, speaks to the media in Westminster after confirming that Barbados will drop the Queen as its head of state

It is hoped that the move will enhance the country’s international stature, but several other smaller, less popular Commonwealth nations have already begun removing their British monarch.

Those include St Kitts and Nevis, which has replaced Queen Elizabeth with Queen Beatrix. Guernsey, Jersey and Isle of Man have also done so.

One of the reasons that these countries have dropped the Queen is because they do not regard her as a particularly popular figure among their citizens. But at the moment there are indications that the Queen’s standing is improving.

Voters in Scotland rejected independence in 2014 but opinion polls suggest that a Yes vote is more likely this time around.

Many Scottish nationalists are trying to emphasise the Queen’s and their shared national values. They want to stop short of actually calling for the Queen to be replaced, though she clearly has not been popular among Scottish voters for more than two decades.

Whether Brexit will prove to be a mixed blessing for the Queen in England and Wales is unclear. After all, the original plan was for the Queen to become an unelected head of state as an alternative to other dignitaries, such as the president and the prime minister.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The Queen has used the visit to Barbados to put a positive spin on the change

She still wants her head of state role to retain a strong public profile, but at least her thoughts can now reach a broader audience.

Barbados is not likely to have the same access to her diary in the future, but British government ministers have already set out their unhappiness over the change.

A spokesman for the Foreign Office said it “believes the Royal family should remain head of state of the Commonwealth”.

That position has two arguments. Firstly, of course, the Queen may become more popular as head of state in other Commonwealth countries, but how much of a diplomatic blunder will it make to dismiss the Queen as head of state for three tiny and perpetually marginalised member states?

And secondly, the Queen is an incredibly popular head of state across most of the Commonwealth. She has become, for many people, the head of the family. That would be a significantly undermined position for her if she is viewed as just one of the family.

What is most likely to happen, perhaps the most likely outcome of this domestic issue, is that the Queen will remain head of state in Barbados, although she will relinquish her ceremonial crown in the same way that she did in most of the Commonwealth.

She will effectively become less royal and more Bajan.

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