Sydney, Australia — Former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the television interview with Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, bolstered his argument for Australia severing its constitutional ties to the British monarchy. Turnbull met the couple in April 2018, four months before he was replaced by current Prime Minister Scott Morrison in an internal power struggle.”It’s clearly an unhappy family or at least Meghan and Harry are unhappy. It seems very sad,” Turnbull told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.”After the end of the queen’s reign, that is the time for us to say: Okay, we’ve passed that watershed. Do we really want to have whoever happens to be the head of state of — the king or queen of the U.K., automatically our head of state?” Turnbull added.

Then-Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull speaks as Australia’s Minister for Justice Michael Keenan listens during a news conference in Sydney, Australia, July 30, 2017. 

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In the couple’s interview with Oprah Winfrey, Meghan said she had hoped to serve as a beacon of hope to Black people everywhere, but particularly in the Commonwealth nations — many of which are in Africa — signaling acceptance within the highest echelon of British society and power.

The Duchess said she was devastated by the lack of support she received from the royal family, however, as she grappled with mental health issues, and on numerous occasions both she and Harry made it clear that they felt there were racial undertones to that treatment.

The British Commonwealth

Australia is one of just over 50 countries that, while independent, have chosen to maintain a close partnership and cooperation with the U.K. after shedding colonial rule imposed centuries ago during the reign of the British Empire.

Queen Elizabeth ll smiles amongst Australian flags being waved by the crowd after the Commonwealth Day Service, March 13, 2006, in Sydney, Australia.

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As a member of this British Commonwealth, Australia continues to recognize the British monarch as its formal head of state, though neither Queen Elizabeth II nor the U.K. government play any real role in the governance of the former colony, which gained independence 100 years ago.Turnbull was a leading advocate for Australia selecting an Australian citizen as its head of state when he was chairman of the Australian Republican Movement from 1993 to 2000.A referendum on Australia becoming a republic was defeated in 1999, despite opinion polls showing that most Australians believed their country should have an Australian head of state.Many advocates of an Australian republic want a U.S. system where the president is popularly elected rather than serving in a figure-head role as proposed in 1999.Morrison was not questioned about the royal interview during a press conference on Tuesday.