Caribbean Party Island Loved by Royals May Become Part of a Republic

The exclusive Caribbean island of Mustique, once made famous by Princess Margaret and still beloved by royals to this day, could become part of a republic after the prime minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines proposed a referendum to remove Queen Elizabeth II as head of state.

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves raised the proposition of a single item referendum asking citizens of St. Vincent and the Grenadines whether the queen should remain head of state in parliament on Monday.

The referendum would see residents of the islands, which include Mustique, decide whether to continue with the queen as their head of state or whether to appoint an "executive president."

Gonsalves told his government, per The Times, that the vote on whether to become a fully independent republic would "complete the national democratic task."

St Vincent and Grenadines Move Towards Republic
Main image, Queen Elizabeth II is photographed on Mustique in 1977. Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines Ralph Gonsalves, inset, top, is photographed on June 7, 2019. Princess Margaret, inset, bottom, is pictured on October 1, 1978. Gonsalves has proposed a referendum to remove the queen as head of state, which means the island of Mustique could become part of a republic. Anwar Hussein/Getty Images/EuropaNewswire/Gado/Getty Images/

For a referendum to take place the proposal would need bi-partisan support in parliament.

The news comes after a series of anti-monarchy protests were staged around the Caribbean earlier this year as members of the royal family undertook visits to a number of Commonwealth nations in the area to mark the queen's Platinum Jubilee.

The most polarizing of these tours was undertaken by Prince William and Kate Middleton, who on their visits to Belize, Jamaica and the Bahamas were met with demands to address the royal family's historic associations with slavery and engage in discussions about reparations.

In November 2021, Barbados officially became a republic with Prince Charles traveling to the island for the swearing in of its first president. This has increased discussions among neighboring countries over moving towards ending their own relationships with the British monarchy.

During their March 2022 visit to Jamaica, William and Kate were told by Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness that the country was "moving on" and intends to "attain, in short order, our development goals and fulfill our true ambitions and destiny as an independent, developed, prosperous country."

St. Vincent and the Grenadines have voted once before on the removal of the queen as head of state in 2009. The referendum, which needed a two thirds majority to pass, saw only 43 percent vote in favor of removing the monarch and replacing her with a president.

The queen has visited the Caribbean on a number of occasions throughout her reign and undertook public tours of St. Vincent in 1966 and 1985.

In 1977 the monarch paid a visit to her sister Margaret on the island of Mustique, where she spent much of her time during the winter months.

Prince Charles in Barbados
Prince Charles attended Barbados' first presidential inauguration in November 2021 after the country removed Queen Elizabeth II as head of state. Toby Melville/Pool/Getty Images

Mustique is a small island among a chain stretching from the south of St. Vincent that was purchased outright by eccentric British aristocrat Lord Glenconner in 1958 for £45,000 which today would be over £1.1 million ($1.3 million).

The island was mostly uninhabited, with Glenconner determined to turn it into one of the most fashionable destinations for the rich and famous. It became well-known for its lavish parties and exclusive guest-lists.

When Princess Margaret married the photographer Anthony Armstrong Jones (later Lord Snowdon) in 1960, Glenconner offered her a piece of land as a wedding present, which she accepted along with a small home.

Queen Elizabeth II Visit to Mustique
In this combination photo Queen Elizabeth II is photographed visiting her sister Princess Margaret on the island of Mustique in 1977. Anwar Hussein/Getty Images

The princess' property was called Les Jolies Eaux after its panoramic views of the Caribbean sea and she holidayed there until her health deteriorated at the turn of the millennium. The property was given to her son David Linley and then sold. It is now available to rent.

Apart from the princess, Mustique became home to a number of the rich and famous, including Mick Jagger and Tommy Hilfiger.

Prince William and Kate Middleton are reported to enjoy family holidays on the island, still a desirable destination for its seclusion and privacy from press photographers.

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