Charles to succeed Queen as head of Commonwealth

Joann Johnston
April 21, 2018

The role is not hereditary, but the Queen, who turns 92 on Saturday, used the ongoing Commonwealth heads of government (Chogm) gathering in London to say it was her "sincere wish" to be succeeded by her son.

The Queen has officially opened the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) which Prime Minister Peter O'Neill is attending.

After the Queen made her wishes known, there would have been little prospect of the 53 Commonwealth leaders and foreign ministers, who met at Buckingham Palace on Thursday, not endorsing the plan.

Prince Charles is a long-time champion of environmental causes - a priority for the Commonwealth.

British Prime Minister Theresa May and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had said they agreed Charles should lead the Commonwealth.

Crucially, the Prince has worked hard to secure the support of India by going out of his way past year to visit the prime minister Modi, to convince him to come to the London summit.

"Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings are distinctive for being both receptive and responsive to the needs of all, especially the young, the marginalised and the vulnerable, she said".

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With Queen Elizabeth II winding down her duties as Head of the Commonwealth, the President noted that his toast takes on an added significance, as it falls upon him to express the depth of the collective regret of the Commonwealth that she would no longer automatically be present at meetings.

The queen hosted the dinner for the Commonwealth heads of government.

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said this week that Brexit could revitalize the Commonwealth and "usher in a new era, harnessing the movement of expertise, talent, goods and capital between our nations in a way that we have not done for a generation or more".

Joseph Muscat, Prime Minister of Malta and outgoing chair of the Commonwealth is believed to have been instrumental in garnering support for Prince Charles. Nearly 2.5 billion people inhabit the Commonwealth nations, almost 1/3rd of the earth's population.

They also said they will work to prevent violent extremism and human trafficking, pledged to halve malaria in Commonwealth countries by 2023 and agreed that all boys and girls should receive at least 12 years of education by 2030.

The Commonwealth is a loose alliance of 53 member states, most of which are former British territories. May had to apologize this week after it emerged that some people who came to the United Kingdom from the Caribbean decades ago had been refused medical care in Britain or threatened with deportation because they could not produce paperwork to show their rights to residence.

Philip Murphy, director of the University of London's Institute of Commonwealth Studies, said Charles' political passions could hold peril for the Commonwealth.

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