Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday welcomed Commonwealth leaders to Buckingham Palace, as she hosts the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).
She told the gathering of dignitaries, royals and the PM that the Commonwealth was “growing stronger year by year”.
Issues under discussion at the two-day summit include ocean conservation, cyber security, trade and the Queen’s successor as head of the Commonwealth.
Theresa May said the issue of plastic waste would be central to the agenda.
Welcoming the leaders in the palace ballroom, the Queen said it was a “pleasure, this time, to welcome you to my home” for the bi-annual meeting in London.
She said the Commonwealth was “one of the world’s great convening powers” as she spoke of protecting shared ocean resources and trade between the countries.
The Queen also said it was her “sincere wish” that the Commonwealth would continue to “offer stability and continuity to future generations, and will decide that one day the Prince of Wales should carry on the important work started by my father in 1949”.
A decision on whether Prince Charles will succeed her as head of the Commonwealth is expected from the heads of state on Friday, No 10 has said.
May told the leaders the summit would “take on some of the 21st Century’s biggest questions”.
She said: “There have been difficulties, successes, controversies, but I believe wholeheartedly in the good that the Commonwealth can do.”
The prime minister thanked the Queen for hosting the event, calling the monarch a “steadfast and fervent champion” of the Commonwealth.