Prince Charles to succeed the Queen as head of the Commonwealth

Some had argued the role - which is not hereditary - should be rotated between countries in the Commonwealth

Rob Merrick
Deputy Political Editor
Friday 20 April 2018 14:29
Queen gives public backing for Charles to become Commonwealth head

Commonwealth leaders have approved Prince Charles to take over from the Queen as the next head of the organisation, sources say.

The decision was made by the 53 leaders on a retreat at Windsor Castle, but will not be confirmed until a press conference later today.

The backing for the Prince of Wales appeared inevitable from the moment that the 91-year-old Queen made a personal request for her son to succeed her, on Thursday.

However, some have opposed it, arguing the role is not hereditary and it would be better to rotate it between countries in the Commonwealth.

On Thursday, Prince Charles himself made an informal pitch to take over the leadership, making clear his commitment to the organisation. “For my part, the Commonwealth has been a fundamental feature of my life for as long as I can remember,” he told the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).

And Justin Trudeau, the Canadian prime minister, had said he agreed “very much” with the Queen’s wishes.

The Queen had told the leaders: “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 of Wales will carry on the important work started by my father in 1949.”

Theresa May confirmed the decision to appoint Prince Charles as head of the Commonwealth.

Speaking at a press conference to mark the end of CHOGM, she said: "Today we have agreed that the next head of the Commonwealth shall be His Royal Highness Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales.

"His Royal Highness has been a proud supporter of the Commonwealth for more than four decades and has spoken passionately about the organisation’s unique diversity, and it is fitting that, one day, he will continue the work of his mother, Her Majesty The Queen."
Asked if there were dissenting voices when the decision was made, the prime minister said: "No. The view was unanimous that Prince Charles should be next head of the Commonwealth."

Meanwhile, Boris Johnson threw Britain’s weight behind a future attempt by Zimbabwe to rejoin the Commonwealth, following the end of Robert Mugabe’s rule.

The foreign secretary said that July’s elections were a “bellwether” for the African nation following Mr Mugabe’s replacement by Emmerson Mnangagwa in November.

After meeting Zimbabwe’s foreign minister Sibusiso Moyo in London, Mr Johnson said Zimbabwe would need to undertake political and economic reform following decades of one-party rule.

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