‘King Charles is a different ball game’: Britain’s Republicans think their time will come

For Matthew, the Queen’s death is a double-edged sword: ‘There is cause for celebration in the sense that it could spell the end of the monarchy – but it’s frustrating because I don’t dare tell anyone that other than my wife!”

He admits to writing several Facebook posts claiming the death of Queen Elizabeth II should preempt the UK’s transition to a republic, but avoided pressing send. “A lot of people seem very emotional right now and I don’t want to be targeted by a huge bunch of trolls,” Matthew (pseudonym) said.

Other Republicans admit they feel intimidated into supporting something they don’t believe in. a pseudonym.

“As someone who believes monarchy is an outdated concept that undermines our democratic right and signifies colonialism, I’m suddenly turned into a villain for deciding not to celebrate this aspect of the Queen’s life.

“People blur the line between her as someone who’s done a lot of amazing things and her as a queen, and that’s where they get defensive,” she said.

However, groups representing the views of British Republicans say now is not the time to be bullied into suppressing their beliefs.

Aware that supporters are choosing to censor themselves and hearing reports that others are admitting they are too petrified to voice their opinions for fear of being overruled, the leading Republican campaign group is actively pushing calls for abolition of the monarchy.

“Obviously people will be careful not to offend, but it’s also a public office that needs to be debated,” said Graham Smith, spokesman for Republic, which is campaigning to replace the monarchy with a leader. elected state. “People are always entitled to say what they think – they shouldn’t feel intimidated. But there’s a lot of concern, especially on social media, about being censored or saying the wrong thing.

A woman and a man, seen from behind, watch King Charles speak on a screen in a central London pub
King Charles III’s first televised address watched in a central London pub on September 9. Photography: Tolga Akmen/EPA

As coverage of the Queen’s death continues to dominate broadcast schedules, Smith predicted that ambivalence would become the overriding response for millions in the days to come. “There’s a lot of appetite for this, but there will come a time when people feel like it’s going too far or taking too long. There will be many people switching to Netflix and other streaming channels.

The saturation point for many, he envisioned, would be the middle of this week and although he predicted a clear decline in republican and anti-monarchy sentiment around the Queen’s funeral, he expected a resurgence shortly. after, as many predict that the UK will enter another era of debate over the future of its royal family.

Smith thinks admiration for the Queen has largely suppressed republicanism, with the issue likely to be imbued with renewed energy. “The Queen was the monarchy for most people and has been for all of our lives. Charles won’t inherit that level of deference and respect, and that really changes the whole dynamic,” he said.

It was notable, the group said, that even in the hours immediately following news of the Queen’s death on Thursday night, it received a surge in support. Republic saw over 2,000 new subscribers in the 24 hours following the announcement. “We’re also getting an influx of people signing up for us,” Smith added.

Poster of the Queen in a London Underground station with a woman walking past
Poster in a London Underground station. Photography: Tolga Akmen/EPA

Although polls have consistently shown that the vast majority of Britons support the monarchy – Republicans have long accepted they have no chance of changing the system in the Queen’s lifetime – support for the monarchy is falling.

“Charles is a very different pair of sleeves. If the support went down anyway, it’s not going to go up,” Smith said.

A poll ahead of the country’s first-ever Platinum Jubilee celebrations earlier this year suggested 62% of Britons said they support the monarchy. A decade earlier, however, the same polling firm – YouGov – reported that figure was 11 points higher, at 73%. The YouGov poll also found that nearly a quarter – 22% – of people in the UK now support abolishing the monarchy, a pronounced increase from a decade earlier.

‘King Charles is a different ball game’: Britain’s Republicans think their time will come

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