What is Republic? Anti-monarchy group protest ahead of the King’s Speech

Anti-monarchy protestors (Piroschka van de Wouw / PA Wire)
Anti-monarchy protestors (Piroschka van de Wouw / PA Wire)

Nearly 200 people protested the King’s Speech at the State Opening of Parliament on Tuesday, according to campaign group Republic.Scotland Yard previously expressed “regret” over the arrests of six anti-monarchy protesters before King Charles III’s coronation earlier this year.

Police chiefs were threatened with legal action when no charges were brought, with Republic hitting out at the arrests.

The group’s chief executive, Graham Smith, said a chief inspector and two other Metropolitan Police officers had personally apologised to him over what he called a “disgraceful episode”.

But what is the group all about and who is Mr Smith?

What is Republic?

Republic is a group that campaigns for the abolition of the monarchy, labelling it an outdated organisation that has not moved with the times.

It was set up in 1983 and claims to be a “democratic group”. It believes the head of state (King Charles III) should be elected and not passed down through bloodlines.

The group says it has 80,000 members who call themselves republicans.

An elected board of directors runs the group alongside chief executive Graham Smith. The board meets every three months to discuss campaign ideas.

It has previously campaigned at royal events, including the Diamond Jubilee in 2012. Dozens of protesters held banners saying “citizen, not subject” on the banks of the Thames during the pageant, where a flotilla of 1,000 boats sailed down the river and were inspected by the Queen and Prince Philip.It also held the nationwide protest “Not My King” in the run-up to the Coronation – with the Met Police criticised for seizing its placards.

Republic protest outside the Palace of Westminster in London (Gareth Fuller / PA)
Republic protest outside the Palace of Westminster in London (Gareth Fuller / PA)

Who is Graham Smith?

Graham Smith is an activist who has been the chief executive of the UK’s leading republican movement, Republic, since 2021.

He has been campaigning against the Royal Family for more than a decade.

He has even written a book about this, Abolish the Monarchy: Why We Should and How We Will.

Mr Smith has previously said he would not be silenced.

He labelled the Coronation arrests as a “direct attack on democracy”.