The Queen Anoints Prince Charles @ CHOGM London

By DailyNews Ug Correspondent 

The Queen tells world leaders that it is her ‘sincere wish’ for her son to become the next head of the Commonwealth in symbolic moment during lavish Buckingham Palace reception

  • Heads of state and dignitaries arrived at Buckingham Palace ahead of a summit for Commonwealth nations
  • The Queen, Prince Charles and Theresa May were among those to speak inside the palace’s grand ballroom
  • More than 100 soldiers from the Coldstream Guards carried flags of the Commonwealth’s 53 member states
  • During the opening ceremony, the Prime Minister thanked the Queen for her devotion to the Commonwealth

Her Majesty and the heir to the throne welcomed heads of states to Buckingham Palace for this morning’s formal opening of the two-day Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

In a highly unusual move, the Queen, who turns 92 on Saturday, made clear her thoughts on succession, as she said she hoped her son would be able to ‘carry on the important work started by my father in 1949’.

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 unease among ardent republicans such as Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

A decision on whether Charles should succeed his mother as head of the Commonwealth when he becomes king is expected from the nations’ leaders on Friday, with reports suggesting the Prince of Wales will get their backing.

The spectacle of pomp and pageantry saw guests from around the world welcomed with a guard of honour with flag bearers displaying the flags of the Commonwealth’s 53 member states.

Her majesty and the heir to the throne (pictured together) are followed out of the ballroom by the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Harry and Prince William

Her majesty and the heir to the throne (pictured together) are followed out of the ballroom by the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Harry and Prince William

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall are pictured riding in a car along The Mall in London after the formal opening in Buckingham Palace of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting

Heads of state and foreign dignitaries gather inside Buckingham Palace's grand ballroom today for the opening ceremony of a two-day summit

Heads of state and foreign dignitaries gather inside Buckingham Palace’s grand ballroom today for the opening ceremony of a two-day summit

Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, and her partner Clarke Gayford are greeted by the Queen during a private audience at Buckingham Palace

The Prince of Wales greets the Prime Minister of Pakistan Shahid Khaqan Abbasi at Clarence House this afternoon, following an opening ceremony at Buckingham PalaceThe Prince of Wales greets the Prime Minister of Pakistan Shahid Khaqan Abbasi at Clarence House this afternoon, following an opening ceremony at Buckingham Palace
Her Majesty, clutching a drink, talks to the Prime Minister of the Bahamas Hubert Minnis during a lunchtime reception today

Her Majesty, clutching a drink, talks to the Prime Minister of the Bahamas Hubert Minnis during a lunchtime reception today

Her Majesty receives applause from all corners of the ballroom after she gave a speech in which she hinted at her support for Prince Charles in becoming the new head of the Commonwealth

Her Majesty receives applause from all corners of the ballroom after she gave a speech in which she hinted at her support for Prince Charles in becoming the new head of the Commonwealth

The Queen has told foreign dignitaries of her 'sincere wish' that they pick Prince Charles to take over as leader of the Commonwealth during a large summit at Buckingham Palace 

The Queen has told foreign dignitaries of her ‘sincere wish’ that they pick Prince Charles to take over as leader of the Commonwealth during a large summit at Buckingham Palace 

Addressing the assembled dignitaries inside the palace's ballroom, the Queen said she hoped her son would be able to 'carry on the important work started by my father in 1949'Addressing the assembled dignitaries inside the palace’s ballroom, the Queen said she hoped her son would be able to ‘carry on the important work started by my father in 1949’

A decision on whether Charles should succeed his mother as head of the Commonwealth when he becomes king is expected from the nations' leaders on Friday, with reports suggesting the prince will get their backing

A decision on whether Charles should succeed his mother as head of the Commonwealth when he becomes king is expected from the nations’ leaders on Friday, with reports suggesting the prince will get their backing

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

The Queen glances towards the Prime Minister of Malta, Dr Joseph Muscat, as she prepares to give her speech at the opening of the summit

The Queen, who turns 92 in April, was proclaimed Head of the Commonwealth at her coronation when she was head of state in seven of its eight members, and wants Prince Charles to succeed her.

But it is not a hereditary position that will pass automatically to the Prince of Wales, who will be head of state in only 15 of the 53 member nations that now make up the Commonwealth.

The Commonwealth Secretariat insists the leader must be chosen by Commonwealth heads of government, such as the Prime Ministers of New Zealand and Canada.

Many want an elected head to make the organisation more democratic, including Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Yet others, such as the former Prime Minister of New Zealand John Key, think differently. He argued in 2015 that the succession ‘should just go with the crown’.

In a highly unusual move the Queen made clear her thoughts today, telling the presidents and prime ministers gathered at Buckingham Palace she hopes one day they will choose Charles to carry on the important work started by her father.

Earlier this year it was reported that the the topic would be discussed by the world leaders when they go into retreat at Windsor Castle, holding informal discussions without aides or advisers present.

Downing Street said on Monday that a decision on whether Charles should succeed his mother as Commonwealth head was expected on Friday, with the Prince of Wales widely expected to be given the nod.

Later Dr Keith Mitchell, the prime minister of Grenada, said he had ‘no difficulty’ with Charles taking over as head of the Commonwealth.

He told the BBC’s World At One: ‘It would be good news, the Queen herself does very well and certainly we have been fortunate to have her leadership of stable leadership over this period.

‘But having the Prince of Wales would certainly not be an unhelpful act at this point in time.’

 Amid tight security, which has seen the streets around Buckingham Palace cordoned off, motorcades carried guests into the forecourt for the opening of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

The royals were out in force for the opening ceremony, with the Queen and Charles joined by the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke of Cambridge, Prince Harry, the Duke of York, the Princess Royal, the Countess of Wessex and the Duke of Kent, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent and Princess Alexandra.

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.

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.

She said: ‘When I meet the young leaders of this century I meet my own lifelong commitment made in Africa in 1947 at the age of 21.

‘As another birthday approaches this week I’m reminded of the extraordinary journey I’ve been on and how much good has been achieved.

‘It remains a great pleasure and honour to serve you as head of the Commonwealth and to observe with pride and satisfaction that this is a flourishing network.

‘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 will carry on the important work started by my father in 1949.

‘By continuing to treasure and reinvigorate our associations and activities I believe we will secure a prosperous and more sustainable world for those who follow us.

‘A world where the Commonwealth generosity of spirit can bring its gentle touch of healing and hope to all.’

The prime minister of Malta Dr Joseph Muscat, outgoing chair-in-office of the Commonwealth, also backed Charles as head of the Commonwealth, seeming to confirm the prince’s future role was a certainty.

Prince of Wales actively participates in Commonwealth affairs and puts a strong Commonwealth dimension in his various national and global ventures,’ Dr Muscat said in a speech at the ceremony.

‘We are certain that, when he will be called upon to do so, he will provide solid and passionate leadership for our Commonwealth.’

In the palace’s ballroom, presidents and prime ministers from across the globe gathered for the launch of the two-day summit, normally held every two years, to discuss the Commonwealth’s most pressing issues.

Singer Emeli Sande, whose father is from the Commonwealth nation of Zambia while her mother is from the UK, began proceedings by giving a soaring rendition of the National Anthem.

During the opening ceremony, Theresa May thanked the Queen for her life-long devotion to the Commonwealth, affectionately known as the family of nations.

The Prime Minister addressed the gathered delegates, adding: ‘This is an occasion to celebrate, with renewed pride, our remarkable Commonwealth family.’

The host for the event was BBC presenter Reeta Chakrabarti and she introduced a group of singers from across the Commonwealth who performed the Natasha Bedingfield song Unwritten.

A decision on whether Charles should succeed his mother as head of the Commonwealth when he becomes king is expected from the nations’ leaders on Friday, with reports suggesting the prince will get their backing

In a highly unusual move, the Queen, who turns 92 on Saturday, made clear her thoughts on succession and her hopes that Prince Charles would take over from her as head of the Commonwealth

In a highly unusual move, the Queen, who turns 92 on Saturday, made clear her thoughts on succession and her hopes that Prince Charles would take over from her as head of the Commonwealth

Her Majesty is joined by Prime Minister Theresa May, Prime Minister of Malta Joseph Muscat and Baroness Patricia Scotland

Her Majesty is joined by Prime Minister Theresa May, Prime Minister of Malta Joseph Muscat and Baroness Patricia Scotland

Joseph Muscat, Prime Minister of Malta (left), Prime Minister Theresa May, the Queen and Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland (right)

The Prince of Wales (pictured) speaks during the formal opening of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting

The Prince of Wales (pictured) speaks during the formal opening of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting

During the opening ceremony, Theresa May thanked the Queen for her life-long devotion to the Commonwealth, affectionately known as the family of nations.

The prime minister of Malta Dr Joseph Muscat (shown), outgoing chair-in-office of the Commonwealth, also backed Charles as head of the Commonwealth, seeming to confirm the prince's future role was a certainty

The prime minister of Malta Dr Joseph Muscat (shown), outgoing chair-in-office of the Commonwealth, also backed Charles as head of the Commonwealth, seeming to confirm the prince’s future role was a certainty

The Queen and Theresa May took pride of place at the front of the summit, with heads of states and dignitaries from 53 Commonwealth nations sat behind them

The Duke of York and the Princess Royal join other members of the royal family to attend the formal opening of the summit The Duke of York and the Princess Royal join other members of the royal family to attend the formal opening of the summit

Theresa May said that we need to be 'proud' to be able to hand over a environmentally-friendly Commonwealth which 'tackles climate change'

Theresa May said that we need to be ‘proud’ to be able to hand over a environmentally-friendly Commonwealth which ‘tackles climate change’

What is the Commonwealth?

Known formally as the Commonwealth of Nations, the group is a free association of 53 member states.

It dates back about 75 years and followed the decolonisation of the British Empire.

As countries sought greater self-governance in the mid-20th century, a new body was set up which united members states not by any legal obligation, but instead by shared values of democracy, freedom of speech and human rights.

The Commonwealth was formally constituted by the London Declaration, which established the members as ‘free and equal’ in 1949.

The Queen remains head of state for 16 member states, she has no formal position in several other nations of the Commonwealth, such as India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

The Commonwealth accounts for about a third of the planet’s population, or 2.4 billion people.

He added: ‘I pray that this Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting will not only revitalise the bonds between our countries, but will also give the Commonwealth a renewed relevance to all citizens.

‘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.’

Prince Charles stressed that the family of 53 nations has been an important part of his life.

‘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 five years old,’ he said.

‘I consider myself fortunate over the years to have been able to meet and talk with so many of the giants of the Commonwealth.

‘Sir Robert Menzies; Kwame Nkrumah; Sir Keith Holyoake; Jomo Kenyatta; Pierre Trudeau; Kenneth Kaunda; Julius Nyerere; Lee Kuan Yew and many more. ‘

Speaking of the monarch, Mrs May said: ‘This week you have opened your homes to us – here in London and in Windsor.

More than 100 officers and soldiers from the Coldstream Guards are in the honour guard, wearing their famous scarlet tunics and bearskins, alongside the Band and Corps of Drums of the Coldstream Guards.

Prince Charles also addressed the dignitaries, and said he hoped the summit would give the Commonwealth a renewed relevance to all citizens.

In the palace's ballroom, presidents and prime ministers from across the globe have gathered for the launch of the two-day summit, normally held every two years, to discuss the Commonwealth's most pressing issues

In the palace’s ballroom, presidents and prime ministers from across the globe have gathered for the launch of the two-day summit, normally held every two years, to discuss the Commonwealth’s most pressing issues

Theresa May speaks at the formal opening of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in the ballroom at Buckingham Palace

Theresa May speaks at the formal opening of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in the ballroom at Buckingham Palace

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