Sunday 26 January 2020

Queen's 'sincere wish' Charles will be head of Commonwealth

Prince Charles’s bid to take up the role held by his mother will be discussed by heads of state today. Photo: PA
Prince Charles’s bid to take up the role held by his mother will be discussed by heads of state today. Photo: PA

Hannah Furness

Britain's Queen Elizabeth has expressed her "sincere wish" that her son, Prince Charles, will one day succeed her as head of Commonwealth, in the clearest signal yet about the future of the family of nations.

The queen, who addressed the Commonwealth heads of government meeting (CHOGM) in the Buckingham Palace ballroom at the official opening of CHOGM yesterday, said it was her sincere wish that the prince would "carry on the important work" started by her father, George VI in 1949.

Her highly significant speech, met with warm applause, is the most explicit statement she has made to date of her hopes for the Commonwealth's future, and the honorary and not hereditary position of its head.

In an unusually explicit statement of her views, she told the presidents and prime ministers of the Commonwealth: "It remains a great pleasure and honour to serve you as head of the Commonwealth and to observe, with pride and satisfaction, that this is a flourishing network.

"It is my sincere wish that the Commonwealth will continue to offer stability and continuity for future generations, and will decide that one day the prince...should carry on the important work started by my father in 1949."

The prince's bid to one day accede to his mother's Commonwealth role is due to be discussed at a private CHOGM retreat at Windsor today, but is now widely considered a foregone conclusion. Two years ago, speaking at the last CHOGM in Malta, the queen offered a hint to her feelings, saying she could not have been better supported and represented in the Commonwealth than by the prince, "who continues to give so much to it with great distinction".

At the start of the London summit, she said "my family and I have been heartened" by the successful Commonwealth programmes "in which we are proud to play a part". The ceremony saw leaders move to pay tribute to the queen's service.

© Daily Telegraph, London

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