Published: Fri, April 20, 2018
Global | By Enrique Rogers

Queen asks Commonwealth to put Prince Charles in charge

Queen asks Commonwealth to put Prince Charles in charge

Speaking at the opening of the 25th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London, Prince Charles said the Commonwealth has become a strong organization because of the contributions of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and other African leaders.

Prime Minister Theresa May hopes to use the London summit to encourage heads of government to join Britain's fight to improve the environment.

Vanuatu's Foreign Minister Ralph Reganvanau said the Pacific Ocean around his tiny island nation was being choked by plastic produced elsewhere and said global industrial powers were not taking the problem seriously enough.

Prince Charles, a strong environmentalist who is nearly a certainty to replace The Queen as the head of the Commonwealth, spoke about the success of the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

The flags of all of the Commonwealth's 53 member states were flown, as senior royals including Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall, Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry, turned out to greet them. The singer Emeli Sandé sang the national anthem and a group of Commonwealth singers performed Natasha Bedingfield's song Unwritten.

The prime minister also thanked the Queen for hosting the event, calling the monarch a "steadfast and fervent champion" of the Commonwealth.

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There were also concerns Charles didn't have the strength of character required to lead the Commonwealth, with his official 1996 biography painting him as privileged and ignorant of the hardships faced by regular citizens.

After an early start, a landmark speech and the not-insignificant task of charming the leaders of 53 countries, even the Queen might have needed a moment to relax. He told delegates of the vigour with which Charles participated in Commonwealth affairs. The Prince of Wales "will provide solid and passionate leadership for our Commonwealth", he said.

He went on to mention Commonwealth "giants" he had met and talked to, such as Kenneth Kaunda, the first president of Zambia, and Canada's former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, whose son Justin Trudeau now holds the post and was among the guests. "But having the Prince of Wales would certainly not be an unhelpful act at this point in time", he told the BBC's World at One.

Besides the issue of the future of the Commonwealth, the Queen also spoke about the importance of intra-Commonwealth trade and protecting the world's oceans. "Who would have guessed that a gathering of its member states would number 53 or comprise of 2.4 billion people", she said.

"He has been a proud supporter of the Commonwealth for more than four decades and has spoken passionately about the organization's unique diversity", May's spokesperson said, according to Reuters.

She said it remained a "great pleasure and honour to serve you" and to observe "with pride and satisfaction that this is a flourishing network".

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