Senior officials from across the Commonwealth met in London in 'secret talks' to discuss who will succeed the Queen, 91.

At her Coronation, which took place in 1953, the Queen was also crowned 'Head of the Commonwealth,' This is not a hereditary title, however, meaning that prince charles will not necessarily assume this position when his mother either dies or abdicates from the throne. This means that Charles will only become Head of State of 15 of the 53 Commonwealth states.

Agenda meeting, seen by BBC, included 'scope for wider governance'

According to reports, a group of 'high level' individuals from around the Commonwealth (consisting of Lord Howell, former British energy secretary; Louise Frechette, former United Nations Deputy Secretary-General; Robert Hill, former Australian defence minister; Dame Billie Miller, former Deputy Prime Minister of Barbados; Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former Nigerian finance minister; and George Vella, former Deputy Prime Minister of Malta and chaired by Anote Tong, former President of Kiribati) met for an all-day summit on Tuesday, which insiders suggested were set to discuss the monarch's replacement.

The agenda for the meeting, that was seen by the BBC, included consideration for "wider governance."

While the Commonwealth Secretariat denied the issue of succession was discussed at Tuesday's meeting, it is expected that succession plans will also be raised at a summit of Commonwealth heads, set to be held in London in April. This summit, held every few years, is thought to be the last that the current monarch will attend.

While there is no formal process for choosing the Queen's successor, it is likely that the decision will officially be made by Commonwealth Heads at the time of the Queen's death.

Heads could opt for an elected ceremonial leader

While there may not be an alternative to Charles within the royal family, and therefore he could assume the position by default, it has also been suggested that Commonwealth Heads may opt to have an elected ceremonial leader in a bid to improve the organisation's image and democratic accountability, as this has been previously discussed.

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One of the main issues facing multilateral organisations in the 21st Century is the general perception among members of the public that they lack democratic accountability, this was one of the core reasons for the development of Euroscepticism, which partially resulted in Britain voting to leave the European Union in June 2016.

A Commonwealth Secretariat spokesperson confirmed with the Independent newspaper that a "high-level group that will make recommendations on governance" held their first meeting at the Commonwealth's London headquarters, Marlborough House, on Tuesday.

While they also stated that "The issue of succession...is not part of the Group's mandate." According to the documents that were seen by the BBC, the Group's discussions will be confined to 'bureaucratic issues' and an insider suggested: "the question of succession...will come up."

A second BBC source to the Independent also said a key issue will be whether appointing Charles as Head of the Commonwealth would simply be a 'one-off' decision, or whether this would result in the British Monarch automatically assuming the position of Head of the Commonwealth at the time of Coronation in the future.