The British monarchy will survive and thrive in the years ahead, a leading unionist peer has predicted.
Queen Elizabeth’s death has seen fulsome tributes paid to her from across the political spectrum - with even ardent republicans being complimentary about her contribution to world affairs.
In 1999, Malcom Turnbull led the campaign to make Australia a republic. The result was a comfortable vote for the status quo and after he became Prime Minister he was invited to call upon the Queen in Buckingham Palace.
“When we met the Queen on that occasion [in 2017], she gave us a portrait of herself - the official portrait of herself and Prince Philip, which I’m sure they give to every Prime Minister, and she said with a wry smile, she said, ‘Here you are. You can put them in a cupboard, I suppose,'’’ he recalled.
“Which was charming and funny and last night, as we were filled with such dread because it was obvious that things would turn very bad, I took the portrait of the Queen out and set it up and we just thought, ‘What an amazing life. What amazing leadership,’ and it is the end of an era.”
Former Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has emotionally reminisced about meeting Queen Elizabeth II.
Turnbull led the campaign for Australia to become a republic in 1999 but said today the nation was "united in grief." #QueenElizabethII #Queen pic.twitter.com/f6KevpFxi6
— 10 News First (@10NewsFirst) September 9, 2022
Mr Turnbull is Australia’s most famous republican but he seemed close to tears as he recounted the anecdote.
His successor as Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, has said he would like to hold another referendum on becoming a republic in his second term in office - something polls suggest has a decent chance of succeeding this time.
15 Commonwealth countries have retained the British monarch as their head of state and the remainder are republics or have their own local sovereign.
After Barbados became a republic last year, speculation grew that others would do likewise.
However, Antrim-born Baroness Hoey believes that the future of the monarchy is in safe hands with the new Sovereign.
“King Charles will be very different,” she told Newstalk Breakfast.
“The instant that Her Majesty died, he becomes King and that of course gives a stability to the country which I think people will recognise.”
“There are obviously some people - not many - who would prefer an elected President as head of state.
“The monarchy has always evolved to change with changing times… I’m not concerned, I think there’ll be discussion and debate- as there always is - but I’m quite confident the monarchy will stay.”
She also predicted that the Commonwealth would continue to flourish under its new leader.
“We just have to look at the messages coming from all over the world,” she continued.
“This is not just a British tragedy, this is a world event and… the Commonwealth is now growing - almost every year there’s another country that wants to join.”
Main image: King Charles and Queen Camilla. Picture by: Anwar Hussein