LONDON, April 19 (Xinhua) -- Queen Elizabeth II opened Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting on Thursday as the British capital welcomed the heads of 53 countries with grand ceremony, appealing to Commonwealth leaders to appoint her son, Prince Charles, to succeed her as the head of the organization in future.
The opening ceremony took place at Buckingham Palace before the meeting moved to St James Palace for a series of meetings. The British pop star, Emeli Sande, sang her country's national anthem accompanied by a string quartet. Prince Charles welcomed the guests saying that the modern Commonwealth had a role to play in building bridges between member states creating 'fairer societies within them and a more secure world around them'.
During the opening ceremony Queen Elizabeth expressed her hope that she will be succeeded as head of the commonwealth by her son, the heir to the British throne, Prince Charles. Royal commentators said it was rare for the Queen to openly express her wishes. The meeting will discuss in private Friday at Windsor Castle on the succession of its head.
"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, " she said.
British Prime Minister Theresa May told the leaders the summit would "take on some of the 21st Century's biggest questions". May said she is looking forward to taking these issues further with the heads of government over the next two days.
"For in the Commonwealth we have an incredible opportunity. An opportunity to show just what can be achieved through co-ordinated action and co-operation, to seize the possibilities open to us as member countries, and together, to take on some of the 21st century's biggest questions," she said.
In her remarks, Secretary-General Patricia Scotland referred to the theme of 'Towards a Common Future', and the focus on creating a fairer, more prosperous, sustainable and secure future.
"Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings are distinctive for being both receptive and responsive to the needs of all, especially the young, the marginalised and the vulnerable, she said.
The Commonwealth was founded in 1949, with its current 53 member nations representing 2.4 billion people, a third of world population.