UPDATE: Prince Charles has been named Commonwealth Leader after being endorsed by his mother, Queen Elizabeth II. According to reports, the decision to approve Charles for the position was made by leaders Friday at Windsor Castle.
Queen Elizabeth II said on Thursday she hopes her son and heir Prince Charles will succeed her as leader of the Commonwealth.
The 91-year-old monarch made her comments at the formal opening of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, which took place in Buckingham Palace. The queen has led the Commonwealth, an alliance of 53 member states that are mostly former territories of the British Empire, such as India, Canada and Australia, since she began her reign of the United Kingdom in 1952. Her role there, like her one at home, is mostly symbolic.
“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 should carry on the important work started by my father in 1949,” she said at the meeting. “By continuing to treasure and reinvigorate our associations and activities, I believe we will secure a safer, more prosperous and sustainable world for those who follow us.”
Charles, 69, said in his own speech, “For my part, the Commonwealth has been a fundamental feature of my life for as long as I can remember, beginning with my first visit to Malta when I was just 5 years old.”
“And so, ladies and gentlemen, I pray that this Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting will not only revitalize the bonds between our countries, but will also give the Commonwealth a renewed relevance to all citizens, finding practical solutions to their problems and giving life to their aspirations,” he continued. “By doing so, the Commonwealth can be a cornerstone for the lives of future generations, just as it has been for so many of us.”
Charles’ bid to one day assume the queen’s Commonwealth role is due to be discussed at a private Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting retreat at Windsor Castle on Friday, The Telegraph reported.
The British government has said it would support Charles to succeed the queen as leader of the Commonwealth if it was discussed at the leaders’ summit on Friday, while any decision would be taken by consensus, The New York Times reported.
Days before the summit, Jeremy Corbyn, leader of Britain’s opposition Labour party, told the BBC, “The Queen clearly is personally very committed to the Commonwealth but after her, maybe it’s a time to say, ‘Well actually the Commonwealth should decide who its own president is on a rotational basis.”
Charles’ youngest son Prince Harry was recently appointed a Commonwealth youth ambassador.
(This story was originally published Thursday, April 19, 2018 at 1:44 p.m. PST)