It has been reported that the Commonwealth has begun secret deliberations on who will succeed Her Majesty The Queen as Head of the Commonwealth upon the event of her death. The Head of the Commonwealth is not a hereditary position and although Prince Charles will become King upon the death of Her Majesty, it is not a certainty that he will take on the Commonwealth role.
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It is believed that at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in April, a “high-level group” of Commonwealth officials will meet for a full day summit in which “wider governance considerations” will be discussed – seemingly this is code for the succession. The high-level group of officials is said to consist of Lord Howell, former British Energy Secretary, Robert Hill, former Australian Defence Minister and George Vella, former Deputy Prime Minister of Malta.
Upon the death of Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles will automatically become Head of State of only 15 of the 53 member nations that now make up the Commonwealth. Head of the Commonwealth is not a hereditary position and any decision about Her Majesty’s successor would have to be made by the Commonwealth Heads of Government at the time of The Queen’s passing.
Many figures throughout the Commonwealth believe there is no alternative to Charles though there has been talking of electing a ceremonial leader to improve the organisation’s democratic credentials. While the high-level group in April will talk of bureaucratic changes, their talks will not be confined to just this.
The Commonwealth is a group of 53 nations of which 16 have Her Majesty The Queen as Head of State and most member states were once a part of the British Empire. The Commonwealth has a combined population of 2.4 billion across all six continents and continually promotes democracy, human rights, free trade and the rule of law.
It has been reported that there are concerns across the Commonwealth that Prince Charles does not have the suitability to lead the group of nations nor does he command the same respect that The Queen does across the Commonwealth.
The BBC reported that the high-level group could come to endorsing Prince Charles as a one-off decision or agree on a new constitution that would automatically place the British Head of State as Commonwealth head.
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The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting takes place in London in April. Prince Charles last represented The Queen at the CHOGM in Sri Lanka in 2013.
Photo Credit: Commonwealth Secretariat