Commonwealth considers succession plans with Charles not guaranteed

Britain's and Camilla Duchess of Cornwall reacts to the wind while sitting next to Prince Charles during an official welcome ceremony at the Nunavut Legislative Assembly in Iqaluit Nunavut Canada

REUTERS Chris Wattie Prince Charles and Camilla Laugh at Traditional Inuit Singers in Canada

The Commonwealth has begun discussions to decide who might succeed the Queen as its head, it has been reported.

The result of the meeting is expected to be revealed at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London in April.

However Commonwealth sources told Sputnik that the succession would not be on the agenda of the meeting and that such a matter would fall outside of the group's remit.

Although Prince Charles remains the frontrunner in the race for the post of Head of the Commonwealth, the position is by no means guaranteed to him, as the office is not hereditary. It has 53 member states-many of them formerly part of the British Empire, reports theTelegraph, with Rwanda most recently joining in 2009-that are home to 2.4 billion people, but only 15 of them will eventually have Charles as their head of state.

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

Discussion of "wider governance considerations" is on the agenda, which insiders say is code for what will happen when the Queen dies.

However, the BBC quoted a senior source as saying, "I imagine the question of the succession, however distasteful it may naturally be, will come up".

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Any decision about the future would have to be made by the Commonwealth heads of government at the time of the queen's death, but there is no formal process for choosing her successor. The issue of succession will also likely be discussed on the margins of the meeting, the BBC said. Other members include Lord Howel, the former British energy secretary, Louise Frechette, the former United Nations deputy secretary-general, Robert Hill, a former Australian defence minister, Dame Billie Miller, forrmer deputy prime minister of Barbados, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former Nigerian minister of finance, and Dr George Vella, a former foreign minister of Malta.

The source said the meeting was "a high-level group that has been commissioned to review the governing of the Commonwealth, but not so much who is going to succeed the Queen of England".

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

He is expected to take a leading role in the Queen's Commonwealth Canopy project, which was proposed by Commonwealth countries in 2015 to help protect forests.

While there may not be an alternative to Charles within the royal family, and therefore he could assume the position by default, it has also been suggested that Commonwealth Heads may opt to have an elected ceremonial leader in a bid to improve the organisation's image and democratic accountability, as this has been previously discussed.

Prince George is third in line to the throne followed by his sister Princess Charlotte. Because of this, the title would not pass automatically to Prince Charles, who is next in line to the British throne followed by Prince William. "Is it the person or the position?"

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