Queen Elizabeth publicly supports Prince Charles as the next Commonwealth leader

Queen Elizabeth II for the first time just publicly announced support for her son, Prince Charles, as her successor as leader of the Commonwealth. The role is not hereditary. 

“It is my 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,” the monarch said at the opening of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting at Buckingham Palace on Thursday. 

“By continuing to treasure and reinvigorate our associations and activities, I believe we will secure a safer, more prosperous and sustainable world for those who follow us,” the queen said.

20 PHOTOS
Queen Elizabeth and her son, Prince Charles, together through the years
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Queen Elizabeth and her son, Prince Charles, together through the years
Prince Charles with his mother Queen Elizabeth II, in 1969. (Photo by � Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
BURNLEY, UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 16: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales travel down the Leeds and Liverpool Canal on the 'Pride of Sefton' barge on day 1 of a visit to the North West of England as part of Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee Tour of the UK on May 16, 2012 in Burnley, England. (Photo by Indigo/Getty Images)
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UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 01: Great Britain, The Duchess Of Windsor, The Queen Elizabeth Ii And Prince Charles (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)
BRAEMAR, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 2: Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall with Queen Elizabeth II attend the Braemar Games Highland gathering on September 2, 2006, Scotland. (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
A young Prince Charles in the back of a car with his mother, Queen Elizabeth II and his sister Princess Anne. (Photo by � Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 01: The Line Of Succession Of The British Monarchy - Queen Elizabeth II With Her Consort, Prince Philip Posing With Their Son Prince Charles, The Prince Of Wales, And His Son, Prince William. Three Generations Of The British Royal Family Gathered At Clarence House (Photo by Tim Graham Picture Library/Getty Images)
Prince Charles, Duke Philip of Edinburgh and Queen Elizabeth II welcome US President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan at Windsor Castle during an official visit to England. (Photo by Larry Downing/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images)
BRAEMAR, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 06: Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales attend the annual Braemar Highland Games on September 6, 2014 in Braemar, Scotland. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)
Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II) with her baby son Prince Charles, 1949. (Photo by Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
WINDSOR, ENGLAND - JUNE 16: Queen Elizabeth II greets her son Charles the Prince of Wales at a polo match at Windsor Great Park following the second day of Royal Ascot on June 16, 2004 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)
These pictures of eight year old Prince Charles and his Royal parents - Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh - are the most informal ever taken of the baby Prince and his youthful mother and father. These pictures are from a film made for the British Newsreels Association in the grounds of Windlesham Moor, country home in Surrey of Princess Elizabeth and the Duke. PICTURE SHOWS: Family life at its happiest expressed in radiant smiles of Princess Elizabeth, the Duke of Edinburgh and their infant son, Prince Charles. (Photo by PA Images via Getty Images)
Undated picture showing the Royal British couple, Queen Elizabeth II, and her husband Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, with their two children, Charles, Prince of Wales (L) and Princess Anne (R), circa 1951. (Photo credit should read OFF/AFP/Getty Images)
The Queen & The Prince Of Wales Attend A Charity Polo Match At Guards Polo Club In Windsor. . (Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)
The Royal family share a joke with Geoff Capes as they attend the Braemar Highland Games in Scotland. Left to right are: The Queen Mother, Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Diana, Prince Charles and Geoff Capes. 4th September 1982. (Photo by Kent Gavin/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall (L), Prince Charles, Prince of Wales (C) and Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (R) talk on the balcony of Buckingham Palace on the final ceremonial day of the Queens Diamond Jubilee celebrations in London on June 5, 2012. Queen Elizabeth II led a grand carriage procession through London to mark her diamond jubilee Tuesday but faced the crowning moment of the festivities without her ill husband Prince Philip. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEAL (Photo credit should read LEON NEAL/AFP/GettyImages)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 05: Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Queen Elizabeth II attend a thanksgiving service to mark her Diamond Jubilee at St Paul's cathedral on June 5, 2012 in London, England. For only the second time in its history the UK celebrates the Diamond Jubilee of a monarch. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II celebrates the 60th anniversary of her ascension to the throne today with a carriage procession and a service of thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral. (Photo by Suzanne Plunkett - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 08: (L-R) Prince Charles, Prince of Wales listens as Queen Elizabeth II delivers her speech during the State Opening of Parliament on May 8, 2013 in London, England. Queen Elizabeth II unveiled the coalition government's legislative programme in a speech delivered to Members of Parliament and Peers in The House of Lords. Proposed legislation is expected to be introduced on toughening immigration regulations, capping social care costs in England and setting a single state pension rate of 144 GBP per week. (Photo by Jon Bond - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
BRAEMAR, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 06: Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales attend the annual Braemar Highland Games on September 6, 2014 in Braemar, Scotland. (Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)
CUMNOCK, SCOTLAND - JULY 02: Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales during a visit to Belling Hospitality Centre in the grounds of Dumfries House on July 2, 2014 in Cumnock, Scotland. The Queen viewed preparations for the Commonwealth Games as part of a week of engagements in Scotland. The monarch was joined by the Duke of Edinburgh on a visit to Glasgow's Kelvin Hall, where the uniform and accreditation centre for the 2014 Games is located. (Photo by Danny Lawson - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
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“A world where the Commonwealth’s generosity of spirit can bring its gentle touch of healing and hope to all.” 

The queen will continue to lead the Commonwealth, which consists of 53 countries, including former British colonies, until her death. Leaders from member countries will decide on Friday who will succeed the queen.

Earlier this week, a spokesperson for British Prime Minister Theresa May said the U.K. supports Prince Charles as the next head of the Commonwealth.

“He has been a proud supporter of the Commonwealth for more than four decades and has spoken passionately about the organization’s unique diversity,” May’s spokesperson said, according to Reuters. “Succession is a matter for the Commonwealth as a whole to determine.”  

At this week’s meetings in London and Windsor, Commonwealth leaders have discussed such topics as ocean conservation, cybersecurity, and trade, according to BBC.  

28 PHOTOS
Queen Elizabeth out and about in 2018
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Queen Elizabeth out and about in 2018
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 19: Queen Elizabeth II greets Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a receiving line for the Queen's Dinner for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) at Buckingham Palace on April 19, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Matt Dunham - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 19: Queen Elizabeth II attends the formal opening of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in the ballroom at Buckingham Palace on April 19, 2018, in London, England. (Photo by Yui Mok-WPA Pool/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 18: Queen Elizabeth II looks on during the unveiling of a panel marking the walkway in Buckingham Palace gardens in relation to the Commonwealth Walkway project on April 18, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Yui Mok - WPA Pool /Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 18: Queen Elizabeth II looks on during the unveiling of a panel marking the walkway in Buckingham Palace gardens in relation to the Commonwealth Walkway project on April 18, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Yui Mok - WPA Pool /Getty Images)
WINDSOR, ENGLAND - APRIL 12: Queen Elizabeth II visits the King George VI Day Centre on April 12, 2018 in Windsor, England. The Queen toured the facility and met some of the local residents who use it. (Photo by Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage)
WINDSOR, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 01: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Queen Elizabeth II attends the traditional Easter Sunday church service at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle on April 1, 2018 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
WINDSOR, ENGLAND - APRIL 1: Dean of Windsor, David Conner exits with Queen Elizabeth II followed by Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge after the Easter Mattins Service at St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle on April 1, 2018 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Tolga Akmen - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
WINDSOR, ENGLAND - MARCH 29: Queen Elizabeth II attends the Royal Maundy Service at St George's Chapel on March 29, 2018 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II attends the Royal Maundy Service at St George's Chapel in Windsor, west of London on March 29, 2018. Maundy Thursday is the Christian holy day falling on the Thursday before Easter. The Queen commemorates Maundy by offering 'alms' to senior citizens - retired pensioners recommended by clergy and ministers of all denominations, in recognition of service to the Church and to the local Community. During the Royal Maundy Service on April 2, 2015 the Queen distributed the Maundy money to 89 men and 89 women one for each of the Queen's 89 years. Each recipient receives two purses, one red and one white. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Steve Parsons (Photo credit should read STEVE PARSONS/AFP/Getty Images)
PLYMOUTH, ENGLAND - MARCH 27: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II attends the decommissioning ceremony for HMS Ocean on March 27, 2018 in Plymouth, England. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)
PLYMOUTH, ENGLAND - MARCH 27: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II attends the decommissioning ceremony for HMS Ocean on March 27, 2018 in Plymouth, England. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 20: Queen Elizabeth II visits the Royal Academy of Arts to mark the completion of a major redevelopment of the site on March 20, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 15: Queen Elizabeth II receives the Lieutenant Governor of Prince Edward Island Antoinette Perry during a private audience at Buckingham Palace on March 15, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Jonathan Brady-WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (L) greets South Africa's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Nomatemba Tambo during a private audience at Buckingham Palace in central London, on March 14, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Jonathan Brady (Photo credit should read JONATHAN BRADY/AFP/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 12: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Queen Elizabeth II attends the 2018 Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey on March 12, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
(L-R) Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales Britain's Prince Harry's fiancee US actress Meghan Markle and Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, attend a Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey in central London, on March 12, 2018. Britain's Queen Elizabeth II has been the Head of the Commonwealth throughout her reign. Organised by the Royal Commonwealth Society, the Service is the largest annual inter-faith gathering in the United Kingdom. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Paul Grover (Photo credit should read PAUL GROVER/AFP/Getty Images)
WINDSOR, ENGLAND - MARCH 8: Queen Elizabeth II and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall speak to Princess Zahra Aga Khan prior to dinner at Windsor Castle on March 8, 2018 in Windsor, England. Queen Elizabeth II is hosting private dinner in honour of the diamond jubilee of his leadership as Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslim Community. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski-WPA Pool/Getty Images)
The Queen Elizabeth II and the Aga Khan in the Oak Room at Windsor Castle before she hosts a private dinner in honour of the diamond jubilee of his leadership as Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslim Community. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 07: (----EDITORIAL USE ONLY MANDATORY CREDIT - 'BANDAR ALGALOUD / SAUDI KINGDOM COUNCIL / HANDOUT' - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS----) Crown Prince and Defense Minister of Saudi Arabia Mohammad bin Salman al-Saud (L) meets with Queen Elizabeth II (R) at Buckingham Palace during his official visit in London, United Kingdom on March 07, 2018. (Photo by Bandar Algaloud / Saudi Kingdom Council / Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 6: Queen Elizabeth II (R) talks with Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Kitack Lim (L) as she visits the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to mark the 70th anniversary of its formation on March 6, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Daniel Leal-Olivas - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 20: Queen Elizabeth II gives a speech at the Richard Quinn Ready to Wear Fall/Winter 2018-2019 fashion show during London Fashion Week February 2018 on February 20, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, accompanied by British-American journalist and editor, Anna Wintour (3R) and royal dressmaker Angela Kelly, (2R), views British designer Richard Quinn's runway show before presenting him with the inaugural Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design, during her visit to London Fashion Week's BFC Show Space in central London on February 20, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Yui Mok (Photo credit should read YUI MOK/AFP/Getty Images)
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II leaves after visiting the Royal College of Physicians in London on February 20, 2018. Her Majesty visited the Royal College of Physicians of London to mark the 500th anniversary of the body's founding Charter. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Chris Jackson (Photo credit should read CHRIS JACKSON/AFP/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 14: Queen Elizabeth II greets Prime Minister Theresa May at a reception to celebrate the Commonwealth Diaspora community, in the lead up to the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in London this April, at Buckingham Palace on February 14, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Jonathan Brady - Pool/Getty Images)
KING'S LYNN, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 07: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Queen Elizabeth II boards a train at King's Lynn Station to return to London after her Christmas break at Sandringham House on February 7, 2018 in King's Lynn, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
KING'S LYNN, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 04: Queen Elizabeth II attends Sunday Service at St Peter and St Paul Church in West Newton on February 4, 2018 in King's Lynn, United Kingdom. (Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)
CASTLE RISING, ENGLAND - JANUARY 21: Queen Elizabeth II leaves St Lawrence Church on January 21, 2018 in Castle Rising, England. (Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)
KING'S LYNN, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 07: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Queen Elizabeth II departs after attending Sunday service at St Mary Magdalene Church, Sandringham on January 7, 2018 in King's Lynn, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
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