The Prince of Wales is expected to address the contentious issue of other Commonwealth countries cutting ties with the Royal Family in a speech at the opening of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Rwanda.
At the formal ceremonial event in Kigali, which officially starts the leader-level CHOGM meetings, it is anticipated the prince will say: “The Commonwealth contains within it countries that have had constitutional relationships with my family, some that continue to do so, and increasingly those that have had none.
“I want to say clearly, as I have said before, that each member’s constitutional arrangement, as republic or monarchy, is purely a matter for each member country to decide.
“The benefit of long life brings me the experience that arrangements such as these can change, calmly and without rancour.”
He is expected to talk about that experience and use it to emphasise the importance of the Commonwealth family, saying: “As I said in Barbados last November, we should never forget the things which do not change: the close and trusted partnership between Commonwealth members; our common values and shared goals; and, perhaps most importantly, the strong and enduring connections between the peoples of the Commonwealth which strengthen us all.”
This is the first heads of government meeting that the Prince of Wales has attended since it was confirmed in 2018 that he will automatically follow the Queen as head of the Commonwealth.
In the past the palace has said the Royal Family believes that the people of a country should decide its future. Both the Queen and Prince Charles have made that point in previous speeches.
But the prince’s remarks in front of representatives from all 54 Commonwealth countries are undoubtedly a reaction to increasing debate witnessed by the royals on overseas tours, most strikingly the calls to become a republic in Jamaica during the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s tour.
Fifteen countries including the UK retain the Queen as head of state and are known as Commonwealth realms.
Later today Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to have a cup of tea with Prince Charles.
Yesterday Mr Johnson said he would talk to the prince about the new government immigration policy of sending migrants to Rwanda, following claims that the prince has privately criticised the idea.
But late yesterday both Number 10 and the palace appeared to have spoken about the meeting, with both sides suggesting the migrant policy is unlikely to be discussed.
Instead, the topics on the agenda are sustainability, youth and the history and values of the Commonwealth and Charles’s passion for it.