Britain's Queen Elizabeth backs her son Charles to take on Commonwealth role

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While looking out at a room filled with some of the top dignitaries, including Malcolm Turnbull, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, the Queen put her full support behind her beloved son, Prince Charles.

The Queen, who addressed the Commonwealth heads of government in the Buckingham Palace ballroom at the official opening of CHOGM this morning, said it was her honest wish that Prince Charles would "carry on the important work" started by her father, George VI in 1949.

Queen Elizabeth has been the symbolic figurehead since 1952 when her father, King George VI, died.

Proposals have been made in the past to rotate the leadership of the Commonwealth among its member states whose primary historical bond is being part of the British Empire.

The Queen said the advantages of the network were plain to see, with an increasing emphasis on trade between Commonwealth countries and joint initiatives bringing about change on a global scale.

The role is not hereditary and will not pass automatically to Charles, the Prince of Wales, on the Queen's death.

The royals were out in force for the opening ceremony, alongside Elizabeth II was Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall, Princes William and Harry, and two of the Queen's other children Prince Andrew and Princess Anne.

Elizabeth II has headed the Commonwealth of Nations since acceding as Monarch in 1952 on the death of her father King George VI and the early decades of her reign saw the British Empire rapidly decolonized and transformed into an worldwide organization of theoretically equal, independent and "freely associating" member-states.

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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.

"We are one of the great convening powers... and we seem to by growing stronger year by year", the queen told the 53 heads of government, including British Prime Minister Theresa May and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"And we are looking at a certain rebalancing in our worldwide engagement, and that will include more focus on countries of the Commonwealth".

Downing Street said on Monday a decision on whether the Prince Of Wales should get the job was expected from by the end of the week, with several delegates showing support for the 69-year-old.

Commonwealth leaders are to discuss who will succeed the queen when they meet Friday at Windsor Castle, west of London. "An opportunity to show just what can be achieved through co-ordinated action and co-operation, to seize the possibilities open to us as member countries, and together, to take on some of the 21st century's biggest questions", she said.

The Commonwealth was founded in 1949, with its current 53 member nations representing 2.4 billion people, a third of world population.