Prince Charles could be stripped of the title of Head of the Commonwealth when he becomes King, under radical plans set out in a book published to coincide with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.
Writing in Queen & Commonwealth, Danny Sriskandarajah, the director of the Royal Commonwealth Society, insists that there is no legal basis for the next in line to the throne to rule over the 2bn people in the 54 countries that make up the broadest club in the world.
The provocative suggestion includes the idea that the British monarch could be replaced by a "rotating headship" between heads of government or "important figures" from across the globe.
"It is generally assumed that the Queen's heir will succeed her as Head of the Commonwealth," Mr Sriskandarajah writes. "However, as the British monarch, her Majesty's position has been a matter of tradition and not of law."
It has been suggested that a figure such as Nelson Mandela could head the Commonwealth in future. Mr Sriskandarajah hints: "It is not hard to imagine a Commonwealth led by prominent figures from our recent history."
Tory MP Richard Graham, chairman of the all-party parliamentary group for the Commonwealth, said it was wrong to raise the issue now.