The Latest: Commonwealth chooses Prince Charles as next head

Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness, second left takes a picture on his smart phone as Britain's Theresa May third right looks back as Commonwealth leaders arrive for the the second day of the Commonwealth Heads of Government 2018 for a behind closed doors meeting in Windsor, England, Friday, April 20, 2018. Leaders from the 53-nation Commonwealth nations are meeting in Windsor Castle Friday, without official agenda but are widely expected to discuss protecting the world's oceans, cybersecurity and who should become the next leader of the Commonwealth. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
The Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern, left, talks to the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as they arrive for the the second day of the Commonwealth Heads of Government 2018 for a behind closed doors meeting in Windsor, England, Friday, April 20, 2018. Leaders from the 53-nation Commonwealth nations are meeting in Windsor Castle Friday, without official agenda but are widely expected to discuss protecting the world's oceans, cybersecurity and who should become the next leader of the Commonwealth. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
Britain's Prince Charles speaks to Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May before taking part in a receiving line at the Queen's Dinner for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) at Buckingham Palace in London, Thursday, April 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, Pool)
New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern sips on a drink as she delivers a speech at a dinner hosted by Queen Elizabeth II, during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting at Buckingham Palace in London, Thursday, April 19, 2018. (Toby Melville/Pool Photo via AP)
Leader of Commonwealth countries arrive and walk past the round tower at Windsor Castle for the the second day of the Commonwealth Heads of Government 2018 for a behind closed doors meeting in Windsor, England, Friday, April 20, 2018. Leaders from the 53-nation Commonwealth nations are meeting in Windsor Castle Friday, without official agenda but are widely expected to discuss protecting the world's oceans, cybersecurity and who should become the next leader of the Commonwealth. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
Leaders of Commonwealth nation arrive for their CHOGM meeting at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Friday April 20, 2018. Leaders from left, Sierra Leone's Julius Maada Bio, Bangladesh's Sheikh Hasina, Britain's Theresa May, Malta's Joseph Muscat, and Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland. Leaders from the 53-nation Commonwealth nations are meeting in Windsor Castle Friday, without official agenda but are widely expected to discuss protecting the world's oceans, cybersecurity and who should become the next leader of the Commonwealth. (Andrew Matthews/PA via AP)
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II delivers a speech during a dinner she hosted at Buckingham Palace in the week of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, (CHOGM), Thursday, April 19, 2018 in London. (Jack Taylor/Pool Photo via AP)

LONDON — The Latest on the Commonwealth heads of government meeting (all times local):

5:50 p.m.

The Commonwealth has confirmed that Prince Charles will be the next leader of the organization of Britain and its former colonies once he succeeds his mother Queen Elizabeth II on the throne.

Commonwealth leaders meeting in London said in a statement that the next head of the organization "shall be His Royal Highness Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales."

The announcement had been expected since the queen said Thursday that she hoped her son and heir would lead the Commonwealth after her.

The queen has led the Commonwealth throughout her 66-year reign, but the largely symbolic position is not hereditary, and some have suggested a non-royal head would project a more modern image.

Charles is a longtime champion of environmental causes, a priority for the Commonwealth.

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1:55 p.m.

British media say Commonwealth leaders have agreed that Prince Charles should succeed his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, as head of the 53-nation group.

The BBC, Sky News and others say Commonwealth heads of government, holding a private retreat Friday at Windsor Castle, have agreed that Charles should be the next leader of the group.

The queen has led the association of Britain and its former colonies throughout her 66-year reign, but the position is not hereditary. The queen is head of state in some Commonwealth countries, while others are republics.

On Thursday the British monarch said she hoped her son and heir would follow her at the group's helm. British Prime Minister Theresa May and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had said they agreed Charles should lead the Commonwealth.

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11:20 a.m.

Commonwealth leaders are meeting at Windsor Castle, where they are set to discuss whether Prince Charles should succeed his mother Queen Elizabeth II as head of the 53-nation alliance.

The queen has headed the association of Britain and its former colonies throughout her 66-year reign, but the position is not hereditary.

The 91-year-old monarch has said she hopes her son and heir will succeed her. The decision will be taken collectively by Commonwealth heads of government, who are meeting Friday at the royal residence.

The British government has backed Charles, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he agrees "very much" with the queen's wishes.

This week's Commonwealth summit has been overshadowed by a scandal over the treatment by U.K. immigration authorities of some long-term residents from the Caribbean.

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