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The British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, has opened the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London with a request that her son, Charles, Prince of Wales, one day be allowed to take over at the helm.
Speaking at her residence, Buckingham Palace, the Queen addressed the leaders of the 53 Commonwealth nations. In attendance was President Filipe Nyusi, representing Mozambique, which joined the Commonwealth in 1995.
The Queen spoke of her “sincere 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”.
Also speaking at the Palace was Prince Charles, who told the audience that the modern Commonwealth had a vital role to play. He stressed that the summit “will not only revitalise the bonds between our countries, but will also give the Commonwealth a renewed relevance to all its citizens”.
The Commonwealth leaders then travelled to St James’ Palace where they were individually greeted by British Prime Minister Theresa May and the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Patricia Scotland.
One of the main issues being raised by the British government during the summit is the growing problem of plastic polluting the marine environment. In particular, Britain is planning to ban the sale of single use plastics such as drinking straws and spoons, and is hoping that other countries will follow their lead, with Prime Minister May pointing out that “the Commonwealth is a unique organisation, with a huge diversity of wildlife, environments and coastlines”.
Other topics under discussion are cyber-security and the need for increased trade.
The British press is widely covering the issue of how Britain is treating Commonwealth citizens living in the country. In particular, around 50,000 people who came to Britain from Caribbean countries after the Second World War face deportation if they cannot prove that they are now British. People who came as children have been denied access to medical care and have had state benefits cut if they are without paperwork to show their status.
However, a public outcry has led to apologies from May and pledges that a taskforce would be set up to ensure that Commonwealth born British citizens will not be classified as illegal immigrants.
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) April 19, 2018
HRH The Prince of Wales has welcomed Commonwealth leaders to Buckingham Palace as the formal opening of #CHOGM2018 takes place, attended by Her Majesty, Head of the Commonwealth. pic.twitter.com/kSPJVWgXwY
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) April 19, 2018