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Joe Hernandez

Antigua and Barbuda may try to remove King Charles III as its head of state

In this photo from a Commonwealth meeting in 2015, then-Prince Charles speaks with Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne. Browne suggested last week that the country would vote within three years on whether to remove the British king as its head of state. (Matthew Mirabelli/AFP via Getty Images)

King Charles III had just taken the throne last week when one Caribbean leader floated the idea of doing away with the British monarch as his country's head of state.

Gaston Browne, prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda, announced he plans to hold a referendum within the next three years to decide whether to remove the king as head of state and become a republic.

"This is a matter that has to be taken to a referendum for the people to decide," Browne told ITV News.

"It does not represent any form of disrespect to the monarch. This is not an act of hostility, or any difference between Antigua and Barbuda and the monarchy," he added. "It is a final step to complete the circle of independence to become a truly sovereign nation."

In addition to the United Kingdom, there are 14 countries known as Commonwealth realms that still have the ruling British royal as their monarch.

But in recent years, there have been efforts among some Caribbean nations to do away with the British monarch as their figurehead.

They've come at a time when Caribbean political leaders and activists have increasingly called on Britain to apologize for its history of slavery throughout the region and pay reparations.

At least six Caribbean countries – including Antigua and Barbuda as well as Jamaica and Belize – have suggested they want to remove the British king or queen as their head of state, according to Foreign Policy.

In November, Barbados did just that. The island nation eliminated the queen as head of state and replaced her with a president.

Charles ascended to the throne last week following the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, who ruled for seven decades.

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