The Queen spoke at the opening of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London, a biennial summit of the 53 nations in what was formerly known as the British Commonwealth.
All members have a constitutional, historical or cultural link to Britain.
While the summit typically offers few resolutions of substance from what is left of the British Empire, the leaders generally agree on communiqués involving major issues.
The Queen said she hopes Charles will "one day" take over as Commonwealth head when she dies. It's a role that's not hereditary and will not pass automatically to Prince Charles.
Members of the Commonwealth will vote Friday to determine who will succeed Queen Elizabeth II.
"It is my sincere wish that the Commonwealth will continue to offer stability and continuity for future generations, and will decide that one day The Prince of Wales should carry on the important work started by my father in 1949," she told the audience of heads of state or their representatives in a Buckingham Palace ballroom.
The Queen, 91, became Head of Commonwealth after her father died.
Her speech, met with warm applause, is the most explicit statement she has made of her plans for the Commonwealth's future, and who will be its chief.
The Commonwealth includes Canada and Australia, as well as smaller countries like Antigua and Sri Lanka. Issues under discussion at this year's summit include ocean conservation, cybersecurity and trade among the member countries.