Is the Coronation Relevant to Caribbean Nationals?

The official coronation of Charles III on May 6, 2023 as King of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms is being celebrated across Britain with public events, street parties, and special functions. The crowning event, attended by other Royals, celebrities, friends, and heads of state, marked Charles’ formal ascendancy to the thrown replacing Queen Elizabeth II after her death on September 8, 2022.

KiCHARLEIndeed, King Charles, and Queen Camilla, are now Royal heads of a country that benefitted from the trans-Atlantic slave trade, a period in history that has created a bitter pill to swallow for many. There are currently 15 Commonwealth realms, among them are Caribbean countries Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Bahamas, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Grenada, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Saint Lucia. Caribbean nationals at home and in the United Kingdom have varying opinions about the Royal family and the relevance of the monarchy as sovereign of each Commonwealth realm state.

“The coronation is a continuation of an apolitical office of our government above the political fray of our opposing political parties,” expressed Bancroft Williams, a Jamaican Public Intellectual who currently lives on the island.

“Yes I will celebrate,” said Williams in conversation with Caribbean Today.

He continued: “It’s a long history of stability that we really respect, and we need to ensure that our country has that political stability and respect of the office in the continuation of our changing political parties. The office is a constant which is not impacted by changing political parties from elections.”


Jamaican Journalist, Barbara Ellington, has a totally different perspective.

“Although it appears to be a cause célèbre around the globe, the upcoming coronation of King Charles holds no particular significance to me. It is especially off-putting against the backdrop of the ongoing treatment being meted out to Prince Harry and his family, since stepping away from the Firm and exposed long hidden ills,” Ellington pointed out.

“As a journalist, I will definitely watch the proceedings for information and academic/historical interest, but I will not be celebrating Charles ’nor his consort’s ascension to the throne. I cannot, in good conscience support an institution or system that enslaved my ancestors, pillaged and plundered our wealth and resources, yet continues to refuse to acknowledge and apologize for the wrongs perpetuated against us,” she continued, adamantly.

Pauline Russell, a British-born Monitoring & Evaluation Analyst of Jamaican heritage shared similar sentiments.

“As a person of colour and being British I understand the impact of colonialism and that I will never truly be accepted as one of them.”

“Prior to Prince Harry's marriage to Meghan Markle, I would have been quite curious and interested to see the coronation of King Charles. However, following all the issues that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have faced I am no longer interested in the monarchy,” Russell added.

British-Jamaican Patricia Phipps also cites the behaviour of certain Royals as contributing factors to some of the negative reception toward them.

“I cannot get past the treatment of Diana and certainly I’m no fan of Camilla regardless of how she has tried to redeem herself in the public’s eyes. Harry is correct when he said in his book ‘she has been playing the long game’. So, I don’t have much interest in the coronation except for watching the pomp and glory on TV,” Phipps told Caribbean Today.

Barbara Griffiths, another UK-based British national who boasts Vincentian and Barbadian heritage is also disappointed in the monarchy, especially its disregard for the poor class.

“The Coronation means very little to me except being an excuse to have an extra day off work and maybe meeting my neighbours that I never see, for a street party. I recognize that the Royal family are an enormous tourist attraction but they are still a drain on public funds due to the 20-plus Royal residences and all that goes with them. Even the Queen considered her boy, Charles, to be extravagant so that in itself says something. He could put some of the money where his mouth is and end some of the homeless issues. He will be my King, but he is of no use to me,” explained Griffiths, who works with vulnerable youth.

The Jamaican journalist couldn’t agree more.

“With the advent of social media, the shine has all but worn off the ‘ball’ of mystique in which the royal family were held. From their disgruntled and disloyal staff, to over-zealous members of the media, the world now has front row seats to all their dirty linen and Persian carpet-covered scandals,” Ellington remarked.


So, is it the right time for Caribbean countries to consider leaving the commonwealth? Yes said Ellington.

“I am waiting with bated breath for the day when we become a Republic. I continue to be embarrassed that little Barbados took the step before us, but we have begun the process so I look forward to participating when my time comes. I also look forward to our children being taught their correct and accurate history that will begin to show our forefathers in their true right instead of the fake narrative they have been fed for decades. We are the real descendants of royalty,” the journalist stressed.

On the other hand, Williams points to law and the constitution if a system of government is to change.

“In terms of Barbados severing its ties, it is an affront to democracy! To have such an important change made to any country’s political structure, it should have gone to a referendum. No government should have the legal and moral authority to change the structure so engrained in the country. It should have gone to the people to make the decision. In a democratically structured country, even if the law does not compel it, the high moral test says you put it to the people for a vote, which is what will happen in Jamaica,” Williams explained.

But, if counties leave the commonwealth, then what, questioned Griffiths.

“The concern with leaving the Commonwealth is who will these countries turn to next and what will be the outcome for all of us if certain powers gain a foothold in the gap left by the UK,” Griffiths asked.

Meanwhile, Russell is not so sure who will benefit from becoming a republic.

“I'm not sure if Jamaica is ready to leave the Commonwealth. I'm in favor if this will improve the lives of all Jamaicans and not just the elite. Does Jamaica benefit from being in the Commonwealth? Not so sure.” said Russell.

Phipps added: “If a country feels it right for them so be it. Their politicians have to weigh up whether there are any economic benefits to be gained. We have seen no significant benefits to those commonwealth countries so far under the previous monarch.”

But, Ellington sees no alternative. It is time to leave the monarchy the disrespects its own subjects!

“That we have to pay for a visa as subjects of the King, to enter the UK, is insult enough for me and adequate reason to shout: Down with the monarchy! The time to leave the Commonwealth is overdue and as we depart, we must continue to press for reparations as well as removing the symbols, medals, stamps, seals and other reminders of that dark and oppressive period in our history.”