The Queen has publicly endorsed the Prince of Wales as her successor as head of the Commonwealth during the opening ceremony of a major Commonwealth summit for world leaders.
In a highly unusual move the Queen made clear her thoughts, telling the presidents and prime ministers gathered at Buckingham Palace she hopes one day they will choose Charles to carry on the important work started by her father, King George VI.
There has been speculation for a number of years about whether the Prince of Wales will succeed the Queen, who has been Head of the Commonwealth since coming to the throne in 1952.
The position is not automatically held by the British monarch, and the BBC reported earlier this year the topic would be discussed by the world leaders when they go into retreat at Windsor Castle, holding informal discussions without aides or advisers present.
Downing Street said on Monday that a decision on whether the prince should succeed his mother as Commonwealth head was expected from the presidents and prime ministers on Friday, and reports have stated the mood is Charles will get their backing.
With Charles and other senior royals sat in front of her, the Queen told the delegates: "It remains a great pleasure and honour to serve you as Head of the Commonwealth and to observe, with pride and satisfaction, that this is a flourishing network.
"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.
"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: a world where the Commonwealth's generosity of spirit can bring its gentle touch of healing and hope to all."