Queen Elizabeth II has appealed to Commonwealth leaders to appoint her son, Prince Charles, to succeed her as their head.
She said it was her “sincere wish” that Prince Charles takes over “one day”, as she opened the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London onn Thursday.
The role is not hereditary and will not pass automatically to the Prince of Wales on the Queen’s death.
The 53 leaders, gathered at Buckingham Palace, are expected to sign off the deal when they meet on Friday.
There had been some suggestions that the position should be rotated around member states.
Addressing the gathering of dignitaries and royals, the Queen said it was a “pleasure, this time, to welcome you to my home” for the biennial meeting.
She said it remained a “great pleasure and honour to serve you” and to observe “with pride and satisfaction that this is a flourishing network”.
She added: “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.”
Other issues under discussion at the two-day summit include ocean conservation, cyber security, and trade between the countries.
Rwandan President Paul Kagame is one of the leaders in attendance.
Singer Emeli Sande began proceedings with a rendition of the National Anthem in the palace’s ballroom.
British Prime Minister Theresa May told the leaders the summit would “take on some of the 21st Century’s biggest questions”.
Speaking in the ballroom, which was decorated with flags of the 53 nations, May said: “There have been difficulties, successes, controversies, but I believe wholeheartedly in the good that the Commonwealth can do.”
The prime minister also thanked the Queen for hosting the event, calling the monarch a “steadfast and fervent champion” of the Commonwealth.
Outside, more than 100 officers and soldiers from the Coldstream Guards were in honour guard, wearing scarlet tunics and bearskins, as a 53 gun salute marked the formal opening.
The ceremony is being attended by 46 Commonwealth heads of government, out of the 53 member states, with the remaining attendees being foreign ministers.
Earlier, Prince Charles told attendees the modern Commonwealth had a “vital role to play”, adding: “I pray that this [meeting] will not only revitalise the bonds between our countries, but will also give the Commonwealth a renewed relevance to all its citizens.”
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Harry and Prince William were among the other royals in attendance.
The Commonwealth represents about 2.4 billion people.