Succession of Head of Commonwealth role ‘not part of group’s mandate’
The Queen is the symbolic head of the voluntary association of 53 nations.
The Commonwealth Secretariat has denied that a high level group of Commonwealth officials has met in London to consider who might succeed the Queen as its head.
In a statement, it maintained that the issue of succession was not on its agenda.
The BBC reported that the meeting on Tuesday would include a discussion of “wider governance considerations” which insiders say is code for the succession.
The Independent Secretariat of the High Level Group issued a statement following today's meeting.— The Commonwealth (@commonwealthsec) February 13, 2018
Read the statement 'High Level Group on Governance of the Commonwealth Secretariat' here: https://t.co/8FwGjWszXD#Commonwealth pic.twitter.com/kcGdPC28i1
The issue is sensitive because the Head of the Commonwealth role is not hereditary and will not pass automatically to the Prince of Wales on the Queen’s death.
The Commonwealth Secretariat said: “Today members are discussing the scope of the group’s work and the areas of governance it will examine over the coming months.
“The process is open and the High Level Group reports to the heads.
“The issue of succession of the Head of the Commonwealth is not part of the group’s mandate.”
In April, the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) is being staged in London and Windsor.
It is thought the issue of succession may instead be discussed behind closed doors at the summit, during a day’s private retreat in Windsor for the leaders of the Commonwealth countries.
The Queen is Head of the Commonwealth and head of state in 16 of the 53 member nations including the UK.
While many Commonwealth figures presume there will be no realistic alternative to Charles when he becomes king, there has in the past been talk of electing a ceremonial leader to improve the organisation’s democratic credentials.