Queen Elizabeth of Great Britain Thursday formally declared open the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) at Buckingham Palace in Central London, pleading with Commonwealth heads of governments to allow her son, Prince Charles, succeed her.
Although Queen Elizabeth took over from her father, King George VI, who died of lung cancer in 1952, the position of the queen or king of England as the head of Commonwealth is not hereditary, hence, the monarch told the leaders that it was her “sincere wish” that her son, Prince Charles, be allowed to occupy her office as the head of the Commonwealth after her reign.
She recalled that when the meeting of Commonwealth Heads of Governments was first conveyed by her father in the same venue in 1949, it was made up of only eight nations, observing that with only eight nations on board of the Commonwealth body at the time, she couldn’t have imagined that during her reign, the number would rise to 53 with 2.3 billion people.
The queen then pleaded that in the interest of stability and continuity, her son who is also the Prince of Wales should carry on with her duties, pointing out that as the group continues to treasure its association and activities, a safer, sustainable and prosperous world will continue to be guaranteed.
“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,” she said, ahead of her 92nd birthday on Saturday.
“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: a world where the Commonwealth’s generosity of spirit can bring its gentle touch of healing and hope to all,” she said.
BBC had reported that it was the first time that the queen would publicly raise the issue of succession as she is said not to be strong enough to embark on long trips any longer and hence, won’t be part of the next CHOGM billed to take place in Malaysia in 2020.
It also reported that in Friday’s meeting at Windsor, London, the issue of succession raised by the queen would be thoroughly discussed.
In her own speech, Prime Minister Theresa May praised the leaders whom she said had been with Britain amid challenges over the years.
“You have seen us through some of our most serious challenges and we commit to sustaining this Commonwealth which you have … nurtured. For your service, for your dedication, for your constancy, we thank you,” she said.
Also speaking, Secretary-General of Commonwealth, Patricia Scotland, said: “Our presence in this place, united in purpose, and aware of the many millions we represent, is a supreme expression of faith in the Commonwealth – a Commonwealth of the people.”
According to her, the group had unmatched “ability to draw together streams of wisdom from secular sources, and from diverse traditions of religious and philosophical thought and practice”.
Scotland also said the common values and aspirations contained in the Commonwealth Charter, signed by the queen as the head of Commonwealth are symbols of free association, respect and understanding that Commonwealth leaders have for one another.