Elizabeth Windsor, the UK’s feudal head of state, has been making behind-the-scenes moves to have her position as head of the British Commonwealth automatically transferred to her son Charles on her death. Mr Windsor is widely regarded as eccentric and lacking in talent.
The “British Commonwealth” is a group of mostly former British Empire colonies. Although the term “commonwealth” has historically been associated with a republic it was high-jacked when this entity was formed in 1949.
Although the UK’s feudal heads of state have also headed the British Commonwealth until now, there is no requirement that Queen Windsor’s replacement as monarch of the UK also take over as its head. A majority of British Commonwealth nations, 32 out of 53, are republics. They are, therefore, not necessarily admirers of the feudal practice of inheritance of public office that still has effect in the UK.
It would be a blow to the feudal institution of monarchy in the UK if this prestigious position were lost to the Windsor clan. However, the British Commonwealth nations run the risk of being seen as Windsor clan flunkies if they concede that its chief office is in effect a property of a British family.
It has been revealed that to avoid any undermining of its status that the loss of this position would bring to the Windsors, putting at risk their extraordinary wealth and privilege, the clan has started behind-the-scenes moves to protect itself.
The BBC has reported that in 2013 Queen Windsor secretly sent “her most senior and most trusted adviser” Christopher Geidt to Australia at public expense in a successful attempt to persuade the then prime minister and Commonwealth chairperson, republican Julia Gillard that Windsor’s son should be given the position without a contest. Subsequently Gillard told the Australian parliament that she expected Charlie Windsor to replace his mother as British Commonwealth head. Gillard has since claimed that her support for a feudal transition was not “colonial subservience” but “wisdom”.
Professor Philip Murphy, the director of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, told the Times newspaper that Geidt’s visit was “an attempt by the palace to sew things up for Charles” Windsor.
And following the failure of republican Gillard to stand up for democratic principles and for the rights of British Commonwealth nations it does seem more likely that the Windsor clan will again have its way, setting back democratic rights in the UK and throughout the British Commonwealth.