Commonwealth leaders have formally announced that Prince Charles will become the next head of the organisation after the Queen.
As they returned from a “retreat” hosted by the Queen at Windsor Castle on Friday, leaders issued a statement confirming the news.
“We recognise the role of the Queen in championing the Commonwealth and its peoples. The next head of the Commonwealth shall be his Royal Highness Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales,” they said.
The role is not hereditary , but the Queen used the Commonwealth heads of government (Chogm) gathering in London to say it was her “sincere wish” to be succeeded by her son.
After the Queen made her wishes known, there would have been little prospect of the 53 Commonwealth leaders and foreign ministers, who met at Buckingham Palace on Thursday, not endorsing the plan.
Asked at the summit’s closing press conference whether any leaders had expressed dissent, Theresa May insisted the decision had been unanimous .
“His Royal Highness has been a proud supporter of the Commonwealth for more than four decades and has spoken passionately about the organisation’s unique diversity. And it is fitting that, one day, he will continue the work of his mother, Her Majesty The Queen,” she said.
At the Chogm summit, the monarch said: “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.”
In the statement, issued at a press conference in Lancaster House, the leaders highlighted the Commonwealth’s “unique perspective” and “consensus-based approach”.
They highlighted a series of joint challenges the countries had agreed to tackle together, including climate change, chemical weapons, countering extremism and human trafficking.
May also used the summit to highlight the UK’s role in tackling plastic pollution in the world’s oceans, launching new proposals to ban plastic straws and cotton buds.
The Queen has been head of the Commonwealth since coming to the throne in 1952.
Earlier in the week, Prince Charles gave a speech underlining his knowledge of the Commonwealth.
He had a series of bilateral meetings this week, including with Indian president Narendra Modi, Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand, and the Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau.