Seems like Queen Elizabeth has a lot of sway! On Friday, April 20, just one day after the Queen expressed her hopes that Prince Charles would succeed her as the leader of the Commonwealth, Charles got the job. And the news comes not long after Elizabeth appointed Charles’ son and her grandson Prince Harry as Commonwealth Youth Ambassador.
Elizabeth gave Charles, her eldest child, the endorsement on Thursday, April 19 during a Buckingham Palace speech for the formal opening of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. “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 91-year-old said. “By continuing to treasure and reinvigorate our associations and activities, I believe we will secure a safer, more prosperous and sustainable world for those who follow us.”
If you’re not hip to British parlance, the Commonwealth of Nations — formerly known as the British Commonwealth — is an intergovernmental organization of 53 member states, most of which are former territories of the British Empire, such as Canada, India, and Australia. As Elizabeth mentioned, her father, King George VI, became leader upon the Commonwealth’s formation in 1949 and filled that role until his death at 1952, at which point Elizabeth took over.
During his own speech, Charles laid out his hopes for the organization. “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. “And so, ladies and gentlemen, I pray that this Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting will not only revitalize the bonds between our countries but will also give the Commonwealth a renewed relevance to all citizens, finding practical solutions to their problems and giving life to their aspirations. 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.”
The Queen, Charles, and Prince William.
Jeremy Corbyn, leader of Britain’s opposition Labour party, seemed to oppose Charles’s succession, telling the BBC on April 15, “Maybe it’s a time to say, ‘Well actually the Commonwealth should decide who its own president is on a rotational basis.'” But the heads of government chose Charles regardless, and now the Prince of Wales has another feather for his cap!