Some of the Commonwealth’s top entertainers and sporting stars joined Queen Elizabeth and other members of the Royal Family at a multi-faith service to celebrate Commonwealth Day. It was attended by more than 2,000 people in London’s Westminster Abbey.
This year’s event was centred around the theme ‘Delivering a Common Future’, highlighting how the 54 member countries in the Commonwealth family are ‘innovating, connecting and transforming’ to help achieve some of its biggest goals - such as protecting natural resources and boosting trade.
The service was attended by the head of the Commonwealth, Queen Elizabeth II, as well as its Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland.
The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex and the Earl and Countess of Wessex also attended the service which was broadcast live on BBC radio and television.
World heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua, born in Britain and a child of Nigerian parents, spoke at the service, telling the audience that he was “proud to be a child of the Commonwealth”.
He asked people to remember how “our Commonwealth cousins stood shoulder to shoulder in combat” and spoke of the values of “fairness, responsibility, tolerance and diversity” which bind us.
The service also included performances by West-End star, Alexandra Burke; and multi-platinum, multi-award winning singer-songwriter, Craig David.
Commonwealth Day has been celebrated across the Commonwealth every year since the 1970s. In recent years, there has been a shift away from celebrating a single day towards celebrating a full week, with Commonwealth Day at its focus and first day.
The aim is to celebrate the unity, diversity and links of the modern Commonwealth and to foster greater understanding of the Commonwealth’s achievements and role.
On Wednesday March 11, the annual Commonwealth Youth Awards for Excellence in Development Work will be awarded to young people from each of the Commonwealth’s regions.
Photo © Westminster Abbey