Prince Charles has been confirmed as the next leader of the Commonwealth succeeding his mother Queen Elizabeth II, through an appointment not afforded through hereditary.
Fifty-three Commonwealth leaders approved the Prince of Wales as the next head of the organisation of Britain and its former colonies at a meeting of the group’s heads of government at a black-tie dinner at Buckingham Palace dinner on Friday.
“We recognise the role of the Queen in championing the Commonwealth and its peoples,” the Commonwealth leaders said in a statement.
“The next head of the Commonwealth shall be His Royal Highness Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales.”
Prince Charles, 69, could not hide his excitement to succeed the 91-year-old monarch in a post on Twitter on Saturday morning.
“I am deeply touched and honoured by the decision of Commonwealth Heads of State and Government that I should succeed The Queen, in due course, as Head of the Commonwealth,” he said from his Clarence House Twitter account.
”Meanwhile, I will continue to support Her Majesty in every possible way, in the service of our unique family of nations."
— Clarence House (@ClarenceHouse) April 20, 2018
British Prime Minister Theresa May said the view was “unanimous” that Prince Charles should be the next head of the Commonwealth.
The role is not hereditary or automatically given to the Prince of Wales, but entirely up to the Commonwealth leaders.
There have been calls for the position to be rotated around the 53 member states, most of which are former British territories, but Queen Elizabeth and British Prime Minister Theresa May have backed Prince Charles appointment.
The queen has led the Commonwealth for 66 years, but the position is a largely a symbolic role.
Queen Elizabeth earlier appealed to the Commonwealth leaders to appoint her son, saying it was her desire Prince Charles take over “one day” when opening the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London on Thursday.
“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.
The Commonwealth evolved from the British Empire in the mid-20th century and the Queen has been the head since her reign began in 1952.