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Queen’s Commonwealth Trust boss says appointing Naomi Campbell will keep the institution relevant

Naomi Campbell’s appointment as ambassador for the Queen‘s Commonwealth Trust will keep the institution relevant amid pressure from countries to remove the monarch as head of state, according to the trust’s boss.

Christopher Kelly, the chief executive of the charity, said the appointment of celebrities from more diverse backgrounds and women of colour will help the Commonwealth remain relevant.

The model, 51, has been announced as The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust (QCT) Platinum Jubilee Global Ambassador, where she will be involved with championing the work of young leaders backed by the trust.

Her appointment comes after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex had to relinquish their roles as president and vice-president of the QCT, which was only founded in 2018, when they decided to ‘step back’ as senior royals. 

Christopher Kelly, chief executive of The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, said Naomi Campbell’s (pictured) appointment as ambassador will strengthen the association

Mr Kelly said Ms Campbell could be a ‘positive’ asset for the wider Commonwealth as well as the trust itself, The Telegraph reported.

He told the publication: ‘It will be very positive to have someone who not only transcends different countries and nationalities because she is a global superstar but who is also a British woman with Caribbean roots, who has got to the very top.’

Mr Kelly said he believes it ‘positive thing’ that Britain have people of colour across the ‘top echelons’ of the business, political and social spheres ‘in a way that many other countries don’t’.

Mr Kelly said Ms Campbell, whom Nelson Mandela has referred to as his ‘honorary granddaughter’, was in a position to represent a modern picture of the Commonwealth.

He added: ‘We were looking for the right iconic person and actually the idea of race didn’t come into that, but it’s a really powerful thing.’

The chief executive said the trust also intends to raise the profile of other black and Asian role models within the association. 

His comments come amid fears that the Commonwealth will be seen as irrelevant amid pressure from countries to remove the Queen as the head of state.

Last year, Barbados announced its intention to remove the Queen as its head of state and become a republic by November 2021.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex had to relinquish their roles as president and vice-president of The Queen's Commonwealth Trust when they decided to 'step back' as senior royals

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex had to relinquish their roles as president and vice-president of The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust when they decided to ‘step back’ as senior royals

A speech written by Prime Minister Mia Mottley quoted the Caribbean island nation’s first premier Errol Barrow’s warning against ‘loitering on colonial premises’.

In 1998, a Barbados constitutional review commission recommended republican status, and in 2015 Prime Minister Freundel Stuart said ‘we have to move from a monarchical system to a republican form of government in the very near future’.

Most Caribbean countries have kept formal links with the monarchy after achieving independence.

Barbados would join Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica and Guyana if it proceeds with its plan to become a republic.

When she was unveiled as Global Ambassador at the Hotel Cafe Royal in London, Ms Campbell, who is of a Jamaican heritage, said she hopes the Commonwealth will remain united

She said: ‘I always grew up hearing about the Commonwealth and never thought I would ever be anything to do with the Commonwealth, but I know how proud my grandmother and my great aunts and uncles were of being part of the Commonwealth, being a Jamaican.’ 

Ms Campbell is a known advocate of international charities supporting young people, particularly in Africa, and this has been recognised by the QCT.

Aligning with her views, the charity is passionate about supporting and uplifting young leaders around the world who are improving lives and creating opportunities in their communities. 

The Streatham native set up her personal charity Fashion For Relief in 2005 and hosts a runway show in its name during London Fashion Week every year. 

It is dedicated to fighting poverty, sickness and distress and has so far raised millions, thanks to its annual show and donations from the world’s most reputable fashion houses. 

The model, 51, has been announced as The Queen's Commonwealth Trust Platinum Jubilee Global Ambassador, where she will be involved with championing the work of young leaders

The model, 51, has been announced as The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust Platinum Jubilee Global Ambassador, where she will be involved with championing the work of young leaders

Her appointment as ambassador comes after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex ‘stepped back’ as senior roles along with their roles as president and vice-president of the trust.

Earlier this year, the QCT said it was ‘lucky’ to have had the couple’s support when they announced that they were stepping back and moving to California.

The trust said in a statement: ‘The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust exists to support young people around the world who are delivering practical help to those who need it most.

‘We have been very lucky to have had the keen support and encouragement of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in our formative years.

‘They have enabled us to make fast progress and have helped us to take the organisation to readiness for its next phase. We are glad that they remain in our circle of supporters.’

It added: ‘Our focus, as always, is on the young people we work alongside. We will be pressing on with vigour to help them reach even more people with the essential services they provide.’

‘They have enabled us to make fast progress and have helped us to take the organisation to readiness for its next phase.

‘We are glad that they remain in our circle of supporters. Our focus, as always, is on the young people we work alongside. We will be pressing on with vigour to help them reach even more people with the essential services they provide.’

MailOnline has contacted The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust for comment. 

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