Leaders expected to decide if Prince Charles should be head of Commonwealth

By @chelean on
Britain's Queen Elizabeth sits next to Prince Charles during the State Opening of Parliament in central London, Britain June 21, 2017.
Britain's Queen Elizabeth sits next to Prince Charles during the State Opening of Parliament in central London, Britain June 21, 2017. Reuters/Stefan Rousseau/Pool

Before Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her 92nd birthday on Saturday, her son and heir Prince Charles’ fate as the head of the Commonwealth will reportedly be decided on Friday. The British government said the leaders of all Commonwealth states would meet to discuss whether the future king should succeed his mother or not.

Charles will succeed his mother for the UK crown in the future, but it’s not a guarantee that he would be made the head of the Commonwealth as the role is not hereditary. Queen Elizabeth took over the position from her father, King George VI, in 1953 during her coronation.

British Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesperson said on Monday that the leaders of 53 Commonwealth governments will gather for a retreat at Windsor Castle on Friday and discuss whether the position should go to Charles. The rep declined to comment whether May believed Charles should inherit the position from the Queen.

“This is obviously a decision that is taken later in the week, a decision taken by all the members together,” he was quoted by news.com.au as saying. “I think that all happens on Friday.”

The Queen has been pushing for her eldest son’s succession for years. At the last Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Malta in 2015, she had endorsed for Charles to continue her role. This year, Her Majesty will be attending what is believed to be her last CHOGM, which will be held in London this week.

On Sunday, Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland declined to comment on what her vote would be, saying it’s up to the 53 leaders to decide on who would take on the symbolic role of the head of the Commonwealth. She said she “had no idea” if the vote would even take place this week.

“Fifty-three heads of the governments are the heads, and they will make a decision whatever way they will determine,” she told “Peston on Sunday” presenter Robert Peston.