The Prince of Wales is expected to guide Commonwealth leaders’ decisions on whether to keep the Queen as head of state or become a republic “that is a matter for each member country to decide”.
Harless’ remarks are to be made during the opening ceremony of a summit of Commonwealth prime ministers and presidents in Rwanda, when he will say that a long life has taught him that these fundamental changes can be made “quietly and without rancor”.
But his comments are likely to be interpreted as acknowledging forces already in motion as several Caribbean countries have already suggested they may leave the British monarchy and elect their own heads of state. .
He is representing the Queen at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), but his visit has been hit by a row over alleged comments he criticized the government’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda.
The prince’s office Clarence House has refused to draw on comments from Boris Johnson, who appeared on Thursday to take an indirect swipe at the prince and who attacked his plan to forcibly deport migrants to Rwanda.
Mr Johnson said before a meeting with Charles later on Friday: “People need to keep an open mind about policy, critics need to keep an open mind about policy.”
In response, a Clarence House spokesman said: “As we have said before, we will not comment on alleged comments made in private, except to say that the prince is politically neutral. Policy is a matter of government.”
In his address at the opening ceremony, Charles is expected to say: “The Commonwealth consists within it, those who have constitutional ties with my family, some who continue to do so, and increasingly those who have none.” Is.
“I wish to state unequivocally, as I have said before, that the constitutional arrangement of each member, whether republic or monarchy, is purely a matter for the decision of each member country.
“The benefit of a longer life gives me the feeling that such systems can be changed peacefully and without rancor.”
Barbados took the historic step of replacing the Queen as head of state in November last year and elected its first president during a ceremony witnessed by the prince.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s March visit appeared to raise the issue of other territories in the Caribbean – nations where the Queen is the head of state – separating from the British monarchy.
Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who has traveled to Rwanda for CHOGM, suggested to the couple that their country could be the next country to become a republic.
A few days after Cambridge left Belize, Henry Charles Usher, the Minister of Constitutional and Political Reform, told Belize’s parliament: “Perhaps it is time for Belize to take the next step in the true sense of our independence. But this is a case in point.” which the people of Belize will have to decide.”
Charles is also expected to say: “But as I said in Barbados last November, we must never forget the things that do not change: the close and trusting partnership between Commonwealth members; our shared values and shared goals; and, perhaps most important, the strong and lasting ties between the peoples of the Commonwealth that strengthen us all.”
The prince will highlight one of the core principles of the Family of Nations – how all members have equal status: “Our Commonwealth family is – and always will be – an independent union of independent self-governing nations.
“We meet and talk equally, sharing our knowledge and experience for the betterment of all citizens of the Commonwealth – and indeed, the wider world.”
Ahead of the opening ceremony in the capital Kigali, Charles, who is joined by the Duchess of Cornwall, will meet with Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame and First Lady Jeanette Kagame, Commonwealth Secretary-General Baroness Scotland and Mr Johnson and his wife.
Following a “family photo” of world leaders, Charles and Mr Johnson are to have their own meeting, but it is understood the two men are unlikely to discuss the controversial migrant policy, despite suggestions from the prime minister.
Three themes on the agenda are sustainability, youth – which includes the work of Prince’s Trust International and the fact that 60% of the Commonwealth’s population is under the age of 30 – and the history and values of the Commonwealth and Charles’ passion for it.
During Friday the prince will host a reception for the 25 new heads of government and later hold bilateral meetings with leaders at the venue of the opening ceremony, the Kigali Convention Centre.
The royal couple’s visit to Rwanda on behalf of the Queen will come to an end when they host a CHOGM dinner for world leaders.