Thursday, 20 September, 2018

Succession of Head of Commonwealth role 'not part of group's mandate'

The Duke of Edinburgh and the Queen boarding a flight in Australia in 2011 which is a member of the Commonwealth The Duke of Edinburgh and the Queen boarding a flight in Australia in 2011 which is a member of the Commonwealth Getty Images
Nellie Chapman | 16 February, 2018, 07:21

Insiders revealed to reporters that the statement was code for the succession plans for when Queen Elizabeth steps down or dies.

Although Prince Charles will become King on the death of his mother, contrary to popular belief, the head of the Commonwealth is not a hereditary position.

The Commonwealth of Nations, formerly known as the British Commonwealth, now consists of 53 countries scattered across the globe.

Senior Commonwealth officials are holding secret talks here to decide who will succeed 91-year-old Queen Elizabeth II, media reports said today.

A Commonwealth Secretariat spokesman confirmed a "high level group that will that will make recommendations on governance" held its first meeting at Marlborough House, the Commonwealth's London headquarters, on Tuesday.

However Commonwealth sources told Sputnik that the succession would not be on the agenda of the meeting and that such a matter would fall outside of the group's remit.

Any decision about the future will be made by the Commonwealth heads of government at the time of the Queens death, but there is no formal process of choosing her successor.

While there may not be an alternative to Charles within the royal family, and therefore he could assume the position by default, it has also been suggested that Commonwealth Heads may opt to have an elected ceremonial leader in a bid to improve the organisation's image and democratic accountability, as this has been previously discussed.

According to the BBC, the Queen is backing Prince Charles to succeed her and has sent senior members of her team around the world to campaign for his appointment by Commonwealth leaders.

The discussions were reportedly set to look at whether Charles should be appointed in a one-off decision or whether there should be a permanent succession process to guarantee that the British monarch automatically becomes the Commonwealth's new leader.

Queen Elizabeth II, who will turn 92 in April, is scheduled to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in May. "Is it the person or the position?"

Amitav Banerji, the former Commonwealth secretariat director of political affairs, reportedly told a USA embassy political officer in London that the prince "does not command the same respect" as the Queen.

According to documents seen by BBC, the high-level group will not just confine itself to bureaucratic changes.

The source said the meeting was "a high-level group that has been commissioned to review the governing of the Commonwealth, but not so much who is going to succeed the Queen of England".

The group, which has its own staff and budget, is independent of the Commonwealth Secretariat. A whole section of his website is devoted to the Commonwealth, noting that he has visited 41 out of 53 countries and has been a "proud supporter" for more than four decades.