Media reports suggested that senior Commonwealth officials were holding secret discussions to make a decision about who will succeed Queen Elizabeth II, the 91-year old monarch after her death. The Queen was declared the Head of the Commonwealth in 1953 at her coronation. She was the head of state in seven of the eight members of the organisation at the time.
The post of the head of the Commonwealth is not hereditary hence it can not automatically pass on to the Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, 69, when the Queen dies. Charles will be the head of state in 15 out of the 53 nations and territories that make up the Commonwealth.
As reported by BBC, the meeting’s agenda included a discussion on wider governance, which according to sources was the code for succession. But a source from Commonwealth denied that any discussions on the issue of the Queen’s successor would be held in the meeting which is to be chaired by Anote Tong, former President of Kiribati.
But it is expected that in April succession plans will be brought up at a summit of Commonwealth heads of government in London. The meeting is held once in every few years and is most likely to be the last one attended by the monarch. There is no formal process of choosing her successor but the decision about the future will be made by the Commonwealth heads at the time of the Queen’s death.
While many Commonwealth figures presume there will be no suitable replacement for Charles, there have talks in the past of electing a ceremonial leader to boost the organisation’s credentials.
According to the documents seen by BBC, the high-level group will not just limit itself to bureaucratic changes. One insider said: “I imagine the question of the succession, however distasteful it may naturally be, will come up.”