Prince Charles opens door to Commonwealth states becoming republics: 'It's for you to decide'

The Prince of Wales addressed Commonwealth leaders in Kigali, Rwanda, today

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Charles, 73, spoke after Prime Minister Boris Johnson issued an address after the two shook hands in Rwanda.

Making clear he was speaking on behalf of the Queen, he said: “I want to say clearly…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.”

The heir-to-the-throne also spoke out on slavery, dubbing it "the most painful period of our history".

Prince Charles speaking in Rwanda today
Prince Charles speaking in Rwanda today
Boris Johnson and Prince Charles with Commonwealth leaders in Rwanda
Boris Johnson and Prince Charles with Commonwealth leaders in Rwanda

He said: “I cannot describe the depths of my personal sorrow at the suffering of so many, as I continue to deepen my own understanding of slavery’s enduring impact.”

All 54 nations of the Commonwealth were present for Charles' passionate address.

The Prince of Wales' speech followed an opening statement by Mr Johnson, who spoke after having to wake up to two bruising by-election results back home in the UK.

Mr Johnson opted not to talk about domestic politics, though, choosing instead to focus on climate change, female education and Ukraine.

It comes after a difficult week for both Mr Johnson and the Prince of Wales, with the two meeting after it was reported that Charles had described the Government's Rwanda migrant policy as "appalling".

The Prime Minister, who travelled with wife Carrie to the African country, said in a broadcast interview he would defend the policy to Charles during their scheduled meeting over a cup of tea on Friday.

He said: “People need to keep an open mind about the policy, the critics need to keep an open mind about the policy.

“A lot of people can see its obvious merits. So yeah, of course, if I am seeing the prince tomorrow, I am going to be making that point.”

In response, a Clarence House spokesman said: “As we have said previously, we will not be commenting on supposed remarks made in private except to say that the Prince is politically neutral.

“Policy is a matter for government.”