Making the change
The process of moving from a monarchy to a democratic head of state is pretty straightforward.
The move will only be made once MPs and the public agree to it. So once polling is consistently showing support for the move and politicians have been persuaded to act the following steps are needed:
- A new set of rules for the democratic process are agreed, including rules on how to elect the head of state and what powers they will have.
- A law is passed by MPs allowing for a referendum and voters then get to decide if they want to make the change.
- If voters vote 'Yes' then a date is set for the election of the head of state and the introduction of the new rules (which will be in the form of a new constitution).
- As part of this process parliament passes the Crown to the people - which means that Crown properties such as the Crown Estate remain with the nation.
- On a date a few days or weeks after the election the new head of state will be sworn in, the new constitution takes effect and the monarch retires from office.
- Palaces that belong to the nation, which include Buckingham palace, Windsor castle, St James's palace and Kensington palace, would all remain as national property. The Windsor family would of course keep their private properties such as Balmoral and Sandringham.
- There's no extra cost in re-designing stamps and coins as some claim. Those in circulation with the Queen's head on them will still be legal - just as it would be when one monarch succeeds another. Stamps, coins and notes are routinely re-designed anyway and also regularly recycled and re-printed.
- Any law refering to the Crown or the monarch would be dealt with by the same law that sets up the referendum - laws wouldn't all need to be amended one-by-one.
So in short the change is pretty straightforward, democratic and offers and exciting opportunity for Britain - an opportunity to create a great, modern democracy.