Queen puts forward son as next head of C'wealth | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 20, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, April 20, 2018

Queen puts forward son as next head of C'wealth

Queen Elizabeth II, the Head of the Commonwealth, opened the Commonwealth summit for what may be the last time yesterday voicing hope that her son would be allowed to carry on her role.

Queen Elizabeth, who turns 92 on Saturday, welcomed leaders from the 53 Commonwealth nations -- mostly former colonies -- to Buckingham Palace for two days of talks that will include discussions on trade, marine protection and tackling cyber crime.

In her opening speech, Queen Elizabeth spoke of her own "extraordinary journey" as head of the Commonwealth, which started under her father King George VI with the London Declaration of 1949.

"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, referring to her son Prince Charles.

Queen Elizabeth, who has been the group's symbolic figurehead since 1952, gave up long-haul travel in support of the biennial summit in 2013 and the 2020 gathering is set to be held in Malaysia.

On the closing day today, leaders are expected to discuss who should follow Queen Elizabeth in the role.

The position is not hereditary, but Prince Charles, who is also the heir to the thrones of 16 Commonwealth nations, is expected to get the nod, despite some unease among ardent republicans.

Born out of the former British empire, the voluntary organisation, covering a third of the world's population, typically focuses on development and democracy, but is placing greater attention on boosting trade.

During the two days of talks, the group is hoping to agree an ocean governance charter, an agenda for trade and investment, and a declaration on tackling cyber crime.

Given its highly diverse membership, if agreements can be struck within the Commonwealth, they can likely achieve wider support.

At the last Commonwealth summit in 2015, leaders struck a deal on climate change that helped pave the way for the Paris agreement days afterwards.

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