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Australian leader reminded of criticism of Prince Charles, but now says he has no more doubts


CANBERRA, Australia — Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was on Wednesday reminded of some harsh criticism he made of Prince Charles as the first in line to the British throne visited the Australian capital.

Charles, the Prince of Wales, and his wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, joined Turnbull along with thousands of veterans and their families at a Remembrance Day ceremony at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

Turnbull, who believes that Australia should have an Australian citizen as head of state instead of the British monarch, was reminded of criticism of Charles he had made in a 1994 book, "The Reluctant Republic."

Turnbull wrote at the time that "it was difficult to believe that Prince Charles could ever be accepted as king."

Asked about that comment, Turnbull said he had no doubt that Charles will succeed his mother, Queen Elizabeth II.

"If Charles becomes king of the United Kingdom — and I have no doubt that he will be — unless our constitution has been changed, he will become the king of Australia," Turnbull told reporters.

Asked if he were happy about that, Turnbull replied: "I am a happy person."

The royal couple arrived at the national capital as the nation marked the 40th anniversary of a constitutional crisis that convinced many that Australia should sever its constitutional ties with the British monarchy.

On Nov. 11, 1975, Governor-General John Kerr, the Queen's unelected representative in Australia, dismissed the elected government of Prime Minister Gough Whitlam.

But a referendum to create an Australian republic was defeated in 1999, with republicans divided on whether a president should be elected directly by the public or appointed by Parliament.

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