Commonwealth in 'secret' meeting over Queen's successor

Queen Elizabeth II

According to the BBC, the group will meet to discuss the way the Commonwealth is governed during a get-together at Marlborough House, the Commonwealth's London headquarters.

However, The Guardian reports that sources have insisted "devising procedures to select the next head of the Commonwealth was "outside the group's formal mandate" and not on the meeting's agenda".

At her Coronation, which took place in 1953, the Queen was also crowned 'Head of the #Commonwealth,' This is not a hereditary title, however, meaning that#prince charles will not necessarily assume this position when his mother either dies or abdicates from the throne. She is Head of the Commonwealth and head of state in 16 of the 53 member nations including the UK.

One senior source said: "I imagine the question of the succession, however distasteful it may naturally be, will come up".

This group is meeting later, officially to review how the Commonwealth is run by its secretariat and governors.

The BBC reported that the agenda for the meeting included a time for "wider governance consideration", which is reportedly code for discussion of succession plans.

The source said it would be decided whether there should be a one-off decision to appoint Charles to the position or if a new process should be agreed to ensure that it would always be the British monarch who would automatically become head of the Commonwealth.

"There are various formulas being played with", a source told the news service.

Although Prince Charles remains the most likely person to succeed his mother, some states have discussed electing a president instead.

She was proclaimed head of the Commonwealth at her coronation when she became head of state in seven of its eight members.

Another added the issue of who is to succeed the longest-living monarch is expected to be discussed by Commonwealth leaders on the margins of the summit.

Amitav Banerji, Commonwealth secretariat director of political affairs, reportedly told a U.S. embassy political officer in London that the prince "does not command the same respect" as the queen.

There is now no official process for picking the leader of the Commonwealth and the organization is reportedly divided about the mechanism through which it will choose its future leadership.

The Queen has been working in private to try to ensure that Prince Charles does succeed her, sending senior officials around the world to lobby Commonwealth leaders.

The Commonwealth Secretariat said: "Today members are discussing the scope of the group's work and the areas of governance it will examine over the coming months".

In 2013, Prince Charles even led the British delegation during the CHOGM in Sri Lanka, with the permission of the Queen.

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