Prince Charles is to give his blessing to Commonwealth countries that wish to move away from the royal family. The Prince of Wales is set to meet with prime ministers and presidents at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Kigali, Rwanda, on Friday, June 24.
He will stress that whatever happens as countries and constitutions evolve, the "common values and shared goals" that bring the 54 member nations together should never be forgotten. In a speech that comes when countries including Jamaica and Australia are preparing to follow Barbados in removing Queen Elizabeth as head of state, the Daily Telegraph newspaper reports Charles will say, "Our Commonwealth family is,and will always remain, a free association of independent self-governing nations."
"We meet and talk as equals, sharing our knowledge and experience for the betterment of all citizens of the Commonwealth and, indeed, the wider world," he adds. "The Commonwealth contains within it countries that have had constitutional relationships with my family, some that continue to do so, and increasingly those that have had none."
The Duke of Cornwall continues, "I want to say clearly, as I have said before, that each member's constitutional arrangement, as republic or monarchy, is purely a matter for each member country to decide. The benefit of long life brings me the experience that arrangements such as these can change, calmly and without rancour."
"But as I said in Barbados last November, we should never forget the things which do not change: the close and trusted partnership between Commonwealth members; our common values and shared goals; and, perhaps most importantly, the strong and enduring connections between the peoples of the Commonwealth which strengthen us all," he will conclude.
The speech will mark Charles' first opportunity to address the group as their future leader. Although he officially won't take over until he is King, he has been acting as de facto head of the Commonwealth as the queen no longer travels overseas and so is unlikely to attend any other CHOGM sessions. Within the Commonwealth, 15 members - including the U.K. - still have the queen as head of state, while 34 are republics and the remaining five have different monarchs.
This week, Togo and Gabon will join the union, despite never having beenunder Britain's rule in the past.