Head of the Commonwealth: Are there any alternatives to Prince Charles?

By Luke Christou

As Queen Elizabeth II prepares for her 92nd birthday, the Commonwealth is reportedly considering who will succeed her as the Head of the Commonwealth.

The Commonwealth has pooled together seven high-ranking individuals to discuss the future of the organisation, the BBC reports.

Among them is Anote Tong, former President of Kiribati, Lord Howell, former British energy secretary and Louise Frechette, former United Nations deputy secretary general.

The group has been formed to look at the way that the organisation is currently governed. They will start with a meeting at Marlborough House in London, the headquarters of the Commonwealth, later today.

A secret source has told the BBC that the future of the Commonwealth’s leadership will be up for discussion.

The Queen has taken a step back from many of her official duties in recent years and the Commonwealth wants a plan in place for when she stands down, but who is in the running to succeed her?

What was said:

According to the BBC, a source inside the group said:

“I imagine the question of the succession, however distasteful it may naturally be, will come up.”

“There are various formulas being played with. Should it always be the heir to the throne or Prince Charles himself? Is it the person or the position?”

Prince Chance: are there any alternatives?

Queen Elizabeth has been Head of the Commonwealth since her coronation in 1953. She inherited the role from her father George VI.

However, while Prince Charles, who will take over the British throne, is the likely successor, he will still need the approval of the 52 other member states. Head of the Commonwealth isn’t a hereditary position and therefore will not automatically pass on to the Prince of Wales.

There is currently no formal process in place. It will be down to the 53 Commonwealth heads of governments to decide on a new Head of the Commonwealth.

While there is no plan for the Queen to step down, Prince Charles has already faced some opposition.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has voiced disapproval of Charles automatically taking over in 2015. Likewise, Jamaica also considered plans to drop the Queen as their Head of State.

That doesn’t bode well for the future king, as pressure grows on the British monarchy.

A recent study found that Charles’ sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, are the most popular royals since modern records began. Should the UK monarchy be keen to see Commonwealth leadership remain in the family, they are possible contenders.

However, should the Commonwealth states block Charles from becoming the head, the Sun reports that it would likely go to a dignitary from Africa, the Caribbean or Australasia.

However, according to the BBC, many Commonwealth figures feel that there are no realistic alternatives to appointing Prince Charles.