Charles’ charm offensive: New King invites Grenadines Prime Minister to Balmoral for an audience as Caribbean paradise considers dumping him as head of state

  • King Charles invited Ralph Gonsalves and his wife to Balmoral for an audience 
  • In July, the Prime Minister proposed a referendum regarding the monarch 
  • It would ask if the King should be replaced with an ‘executive president’
  • This comes after the Earl and Countess of Wessex’s visit was met with protests 
  • When they visited the island nation in April, banners said ‘End to Colonialism’ 

King Charles III has invited the Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines to Balmoral for an audience as the Caribbean island nation considers dumping him as head of state.

The monarch was pictured smiling and shaking hands with Ralph Gonsalves and his wife Eloise at the Aberdeenshire castle.

This comes after the island nation’s PM proposed a referendum asking if the monarch should be replaced with an appointed ‘executive president’ and the Earl and Countess of Wessex faced protests when they visited in April.

In July, Mr Gonsalves told his country’s parliament that the vote would be an opportunity to ‘complete the national democratic task’ – after they gained their independence from the UK in 1979.

King Charles III invited the Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to Balmoral for an audience as the Caribbean island nation considers dumping him as head of state

The monarch was pictured smiling and shaking hands with Ralph Gonsalves and his wife Eloise at the Highlands castle

It is the PM’s second attempt to become a republic in his 21 years in power. 

In 2009, he backed a reform that would have seen a president installed but a referendum on the issue received only 43 percent of support. 

This was well below the two-thirds majority needed to pass, according to the country’s constitution. 

But a repeat of the measure is reportedly more likely to succeed now because of the recent similar moves in the region. 

In July, Mr Gonsalves told his country’s parliament that the vote would be an opportunity to ‘complete the national democratic task’ – after they gained their independence from the UK in 1979

When Prince Edward and Sophie Wessex visited St Vincent and the Grenadines in April, they were met with protests calling for reparations for British colonialism.

The demonstrators held up banners and signs reading ‘End to Colonialism’, Reparation Now’, ‘Down with Neo-colonialism’ and ‘Compensation Now’. 

The potential move comes after the Bahamas removed the Queen as head of state last November, prior to her death. 

In Jamaica, growing anti-monarchy sentiment has seen the country’s government indicate its wish to become a republic by 2025.

In Belize, prime minister John Briceño hinted that his country might follow Barbados in becoming a republic. The Belize Progressive Party (BPP) has also openly talked of a ‘Republic of Belize’.

And in the Bahamas, the country’s former attorney general Sean McWeeney previously said a shift to a republic is ‘inevitable’.  

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