Will Prince Charles succeed the Queen as the head of Commonwealth?

  • Position is not hereditary so will not pass automatically to Prince of Wales 
  • Leader must be chosen by the Commonwealth heads of government 
  • Believed decision will take place tomorrow during Leaders’ Retreat at Windsor Castle
  • Not known when the announcement will take place after meeting 

The Queen, who turns 92 in April, was proclaimed Head of the Commonwealth at her coronation when she was head of state in seven of its eight members, and wants Prince Charles to succeed her.

But it is not a hereditary position that will pass automatically to the Prince of Wales, who will be head of state in only 15 of the 53 member nations that now make up the Commonwealth.

The Commonwealth Secretariat insists the leader must be chosen by Commonwealth heads of government, such as the Prime Ministers of New Zealand and Canada.

It is believed that the decision will take place tomorrow during the leaders’ retreat at Windsor Castle – a frank discussion between the nations’ leaders without aides or advisers present.

It is believed a decision about whether Prince Charles will succeed the Queen as the head of the Commonwealth will take place tomorrow at the Leaders’ Retreat

Theresa May’s spokesperson, when asked about the succession, said: ‘This is obviously a decision that is taken later in the week, a decision taken by all the members together.

‘I think that all happens on Friday.’

While they are widely expected to fulfil the hopes expressed by the Queen, there was no official confirmation that Charles will be offered the role on Friday.

Spokesmen could not even confirm that any decision would be announced at a press conference following the leaders’ retreat at Windsor Castle.

Many want an elected head to make the organisation more democratic, including Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Yet others, such as the former Prime Minister of New Zealand John Key, think differently. He argued in 2015 that the succession ‘should just go with the crown’.

In a highly unusual move the Queen made clear her thoughts today, telling the presidents and prime ministers gathered at Buckingham Palace she hopes one day they will choose Charles to carry on the important work started by her father.

The Prince of Wales is widely expected to be given the nod. 


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