Leaders of the Commonwealth of Nations formally announced on Friday that Prince Charles will take over as the head of the organisation after his mother, Queen Elizabeth II.
In an official statement issued after a “retreat” hosted by the queen at Windsor Castle on Friday, the leaders said, “We recognise the role of the Queen in championing the Commonwealth and its peoples. The next head of the Commonwealth shall be his Royal Highness Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales,” The Guardian reported.
While the role is not hereditary and can be rotated among the 53 Commonwealth leaders, the queen, who turns 92 on Saturday, said at the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting during the week that it was her “sincere wish” that the 69-year-old Prince Charles succeeds her, BBC reported.
“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,” the queen said. Prince Charles is the queen’s eldest son and heir to the throne.
At a news conference after the summit ended, British Prime Minister Theresa May praised the queen for her “vision and duty” in developing the Commonwealth from eight members to 53, and said it was only “fitting” that Prince Charles would succeed her as he too has supported the Commonwealth “for more than four decades”. May said the decision of the leaders was unanimous.
On Thursday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also said he “very much” agreed with the queen, The Washington Post reported.
While the role is largely symbolic, the leader is meant to unify the 53 member states and ensure trade and international cooperation. The head of the Commonwealth also regularly visits member states.