News 13 february — 15:17

Commonwealth in secret succession plans

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The Commonwealth has secretly begun considering who might succeed the Queen as its head, the BBC has learned, BBC reports.

The issue is hugely sensitive because the role is not hereditary and will not pass automatically to the Prince of Wales on the Queen's death.

The Commonwealth has set up a "high level group" to look at the way the international organisation is governed.

This group is meeting later, officially to review how the Commonwealth is run by its secretariat and governors.

However, senior sources added that the gathering in London would also consider what happens when the Queen, who turns 92 in April, dies.

One said: "I imagine the question of the succession, however distasteful it may naturally be, will come up."

The agenda for the all-day summit, seen by the BBC, says there will be a discussion of "wider governance considerations" which insiders say is code for the succession.

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