The End of an Era: Queen Elizabeth Names Her Successor

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles attend the formal opening Thursday of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting at Buckingham Palace

"It is my honest wish that the Commonwealth will continue to offer stability and continuity for future generations and will decide that one day the Prince of Wales should carry on the important work started by my father in 1949", the 92-year-old said on Thursday during the formal opening of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting at Buckingham Palace.

The Commonwealth has confirmed that Prince Charles will be the next leader of the organisation of Britain and its former colonies once he succeeds his mother Queen Elizabeth II on the throne.

Speaking to reporters from London on Thursday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said: "I very much agree with the wishes of Her Majesty that the Prince of Wales be the next head of the Commonwealth".

The head role is non-hereditary so is not automatically passed on when the Queen dies, with some suggestions it might rotate among the 53 leaders.

Ahead of the history-making decision, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles welcomed all the heads of state from the Commonwealth countries to a banquet in London.

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She also said she was mindful the Commonwealth draws its mandate from the countries and its leaders.

She has visited nearly every member country, often multiple times, over her 66-year reign.

In an unprecedented appeal to the organisation's 53 heads of government, she said her "sincere wish" was that her son should become their figurehead.

Earlier on Friday, the foreign minister of Vanuatu, Ralph Regenvanu, supported Charles, telling BBC Radio 4's Today programme that "we see it nearly naturally that it should be the British royal family because it is the Commonwealth after all".

The queen hosted the dinner for the Commonwealth heads of government.

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She had said: "It is my honest wish that the Commonwealth will continue to offer stability and continuity for future generations, and will decide that one day, the Prince of Wales should carry on the important work started by my father in 1949".

"At Windsor we discussed our vision for the Commonwealth in We have pledged to work together to foster a fairer, more secure, more sustainable and more prosperous future to the benefit of all Commonwealth citizens".

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.

"We have also listened most attentively to the young people of the Commonwealth". Some have suggested that Charles should not take over the helm of the group, which takes in 2.4 billion people on five continents.

The Commonwealth of Nations has been an institution since 1931, but it is not without its critics.

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But the summit was overshadowed by an uproar over the treatment by United Kingdom immigration authorities of some long-term British residents from the Caribbean.

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