The chances for an Australian republic if Charles becomes Prince Regent

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Prince Charles and Camilla
Britain's Prince Charles his wife and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, arrive for the State Opening of Parliament at the Palace of Westminster, in central London, Britain May 27, 2015. Reuters/Richard Pohle

Amid reports that British monarch Queen Elizabeth may retire at 95 and appoint son Charles as Prince Regent, the debate about whether to turn Australia into a republic has been trickling. But Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull allegedly prefers to wait until the queen is gone before anything is done.

“Out of the profound respect the Queen holds for the institution of monarchy and its stewardship, Her Majesty would want to make sure that she has done everything she can for her country and her people before she hands over,” a senior former member of the Royal Household said, according to the Daily Mail. Sources added that the queen is concerned about her age and wants to ensure the transition of the crown is seamless.

A Prince Regent can only be installed if a decision is made by three of the following: the Sovereign’s consort, the Lord Chancellor, the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Lord Chief Justice and Master of the Rolls. The title would see Charles carry out the duties of the monarchy, and he would be king in all but name.

The Prince Regent and Australia

Once Queen Elizabeth enforces the legislation, it would see her effectively retire. Her husband Duke of Edinburgh had previously resigned from his royal duties at the age of 96. According to the Daily Mail, Queen Elizabeth stated that if she remains on the throne by the time she turns 95, she will ask for a legislation called the Regency Act.

Currently, commonwealth nations share the queen as its head of state and reigning constitutional monarch. There are 16 commonwealth realms as of this year, including Australia. In a speech on her 21st birthday, the queen said she would be faithful to the commonwealth her whole life.

If Charles becomes Prince Regent, he is expected to have full power to reign even while the majesty is still alive. But any changes in the palace is not likely to be seen as a timing of an Australian republic, as such is not dependent on who happens to be monarch at a specific time.

The prince is already filling in for the head of state, representing her mother on foreign trips during her Diamond Jubilee year to Australia and New Zealand, even before any formal handover. The royal family is yet to comment about the news of abdication.

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