Prince Charles to be next Commonwealth head

The CHOGM family with Queen Elizabeth II in centre front. Jacinda Ardern is at the far right second row from the front

Prince Charles has been approved to take over from the Queen as the next head of the Commonwealth, according to Sky sources.

Following Queen Elizabeth's public call as she opened the group's summit on Thursday for potentially the final time, a series of Commonwealth premiers voiced their support Thursday for Charles as a figure of stability and continuity.

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.

And Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, who is the outgoing Commonwealth chair, said he was "elated" by Prince Charles' "vigour" for participating in the Commonwealth.

"Her Majesty has been the influence that has steered the Commonwealth to pay greater attention to our shared values and better governance".

The leaders also agreed a "blue charter" to protect the ocean from pollution and climate change and a "cyber declaration" to combat online crime and threats.

"Here at Buckingham Palace in 1949, my father met the Heads of Government when they ratified the London Declaration, which created the Commonwealth as we know it today - then comprising just eight nations", she said.

The 53 member states had unanimously agreed to fight protectionism as part of an effort to expand intra-Commonwealth trade to 2 trillion USA dollars (£1.4trn) by 2030, she said. "They will also consider reform and renewal of the Commonwealth", a Commonwealth statement said.

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While 32% said the role should instead rotate between representatives from other Commonwealth countries.

Foreign secretary Boris Johnson said Zimbabwe's government has "made impressive progress" under Mr Mugabe's successor, Emmerson Mnangagwa, but the country would have to deliver "free and fair elections" for the people in July.

The next CHOGM will be hosted by Rwanda in 2020.

What does the head of the Commonwealth do?

Out of the 53 member states, 46 leaders attended CHOGM, with the remaining attending were foreign ministers. Its members include small island nations in the Caribbean and Pacific that are among the countries most vulnerable to rising seas, fiercer storms and other effects of global climate change.

The head of the Commonwealth usually makes regular visits to the member states to foster these connections personally.

The Commonwealth Secretariat, which carries out the organisation's day-to-day work, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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