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Will Prince Charles lead the Commonwealth?

Prince Charles covets the role of Head of the Commonwealth. Credit: PA

It looks like we will get an imminent decision on whether Prince Charles will take over from The Queen as the next Head of the Commonwealth.

It’s a question to which we’ve been trying to get an answer to for some time.

But the answer always came back like this: it’s up to the leaders of the 53 members to decide who they want to lead this organisation in the future.

But as the summit of Commonwealth Heads of Government (known as CHOGM) got underway in London today, the UK Prime Minister’s spokesman appeared to put the matter firmly on the agenda.

He said it was “a decision that is taken later in the week”, adding that Friday was the day it would happen.

The Queen will not abdicate. Credit: PA

The leaders of the Commonwealth countries will join the summit later in the week when the Queen hosts a formal opening ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

The Prince of Wales will attend that ceremony on Thursday and also be present at the State Dinner that evening.

Commonwealth members include Canada, New Zealand, India, Malaysia, Nigeria and Pakistan.

The organisation which represents 2.4 billion people – a third of the world’s populations – is likely to become more important to the UK as we leave the European Union.

Many MPs who supported Brexit want the UK to focus on establishing greater trade links with the Commonwealth.

The voluntary organisation of mostly English-speaking countries and many former colonies is very close to the Queen’s heart given she’s been its Head since her accession in 1952.

Prince Charles recently visited Vanuatu. Credit: PA

But it is not a role which automatically passes to the next British Monarch.

A statement on the organisation’s website simply states: “The choice of successive Heads will be made collectively by Commonwealth leaders.”

It doesn’t say when or how that decision will be made.

Most leaders have always considered it insensitive to discuss a successor to the Queen as she will only cease to be the Head of the Commonwealth when she dies or if she abdicates (which she won’t).

But the Commonwealth means as much to Prince of Wales as it does his mother, so it would be a huge personal blow to him if the leaders were to decide to choose someone else.

The Prince has devoted a lot of his time to the organisation, his charities operate in many of its member countries and he’s spent lots of time visiting them.

He has only just returned from an official visit to Commonwealth members Australia and Vanuatu, so real does covet the role and will be awaiting the answer as much as the rest of us.