Last year, the Guardian published a macabre-yet-fascinating article about what will happen in the days and weeks after Queen Elizabeth II passes away. There was a lot of new information for me: I didn’t realize that Prince Charles – who will then be King Charles – will literally have to meet with leaders and representatives from the British Commonwealth within, like, a day. Each Commonwealth country will have to decide whether they want Charles to be their king, basically. Well, this is the year that the Queen really seems to be feeling her age more and more. She’s been making arrangements all over the place to give Charles and her grandchildren even more responsibility. And now this: the Queen is saying flat-out that the Commonwealth countries should look no further than Charles as their new Commonwealth leader.
In a rare move, Queen Elizabeth publicly backed her son, Prince Charles, as the next Commonwealth leader. On Thursday, the monarch, who turns 92 on Saturday, formally asked the Commonwealth Heads of Government to appoint Charles as her successor of the association of Britain and its former colonies.
Queen Elizabeth has been the group’s symbolic figurehead since 1952. On Friday, leaders are expected to discuss who should follow her in the role. The position is not hereditary, but Prince Charles is expected to get the nod. (As the Queen’s firstborn, Charles is the hereditary heir to the British throne, which he will automatically inherit upon his mother’s death.)
“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 Queen said at the formal opening of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting at Buckingham Palace. “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.”
It seems like an odd idea to me that the symbolic figurehead of the British Commonwealth would be someone other than the British monarch or her heir. I mean, what would the other option be? Like a rotating symbolic figurehead? Justin Trudeau for a few years, then Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull, then someone from Malta? I mean… it’s the BRITISH Commonwealth, the remnant of the British Empire. Of course the symbolic leader is going to be the British monarch. But don’t ask me – I’m a gauche American. What do I know?
Here are photos from last night’s Buckingham Palace reception, which was attended by Commonwealth leaders, Prince Charles, the Queen, Prince Harry and Prince William.
Photos courtesy of Getty.