Commonwealth Day was celebrated on 11 March with a renewed commitment to deliver a common future for all. While there were many high-profile activities in London, the day was observed with reverence, celebration and education throughout the world.

In London, Commonwealth Day began with a flag-raising at the House of Commons. It was followed by a wreath-laying ceremony at the Commonwealth Memorial Gates to commemorate the millions of citizens who served and lost their lives during the First and Second World Wars. 

Commonwealth Secretary-General, The Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC, in her annual Commonwealth Day message, urged the members to continue to draw on the 'unique and extraordinary' bonds between the association's 56 member countries. 

Referencing the increasing global uncertainty, the Commonwealth Secretary-General said:

"Over the course of 75 years, our family of nations has grown in scale, strength and experience. Our inbuilt relationships are unique and extraordinary, drawing together one third of humanity, across five continents and six oceans, with an astonishing diversity of thought, tradition and experience, and 1.5 billion people under the age of 30.

"By keeping our Commonwealth connections strong, we can defend our shared values, and advance our shared interests, even in the most turbulent times."

Commonwealth Secretary-General at the Commonwealth Day Service 2024
Commonwealth Secretary-General, the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC, read the Affirmation at the Commonwealth Day service (Credit: Dean and Chapter of Westminster/Picture Partnership)

The Secretary-General also read the Affirmation at the multi-faith service of celebration at Westminster Abbey in London. Over 2,000 people from around the Commonwealth attended the service. In his role as Head of the Commonwealth, His Majesty King Charles III addressed the audience gathered at the Abbey.

In his video message, His Majesty The King said:

"We recognise today that our diversity is our greatest strength. The Commonwealth represents a third of humanity, from all regions of the world, with all the different experiences, knowledge, and aspirations that this brings. Wherever we live, we are united by the many challenges we face – whether it be climate change, the loss of Nature, or the social and economic changes that new technologies are bringing. 

"Our diversity means that these challenges affect us all differently and that we experience their impacts in different ways. Their seriousness, however, is common to each one of us."

The audience at Westminster Abbey included Her Majesty the Queen, other members of the Royal Family, foreign ministers, speakers of Parliament, High Commissioners, senior government officials, dignitaries, Commonwealth Games athletes, faith leaders, and over 600 schoolchildren from across the United Kingdom. The event was also broadcast on BBC's YouTube channel, which allowed millions across the world to view it live. 

Her Majesty The Queen at the 2024 Commonwealth Day service
Her Majesty The Queen at the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey in London

In addition to the messages, those in the Abbey and watching virtually enjoyed live performances from all the regions of the Commonwealth.

Among the highlights was a rendition of a Samoan folk song, Tofa Mai Feleni (Goodbye My Friend), by soprano Isabella Moore and baritone Benson Wilson; a stirring performance by singer and songwriter Calum Scott from the UK; and one of Canada's top classical musicians, Spencer Klymyshyn, played Alexander Scriabin's Prelude on the piano. A spirited performance by the Ugandan dance troupe Ghetto Kids further energised the audience.

Commonwealth Day, which is being commemorated during the Year of Youth, also drew attention to 1.5 billion Commonwealth citizens under the age of 30. Maya Kirti Nanan, the Commonwealth Young Person of the Year, carried the Commonwealth's flag at Westminster Abbey. After the ceremony, Ms Nanan said:

"It's mind-blowing to see so many young people from different countries come together and celebrate their culture in such a dynamic way. The Commonwealth brings all of us together and I'm grateful to be a part of it."

As is customary, young people from across the Commonwealth carried the flags of the 56 member countries.

Flagbearers from across the Commonwealth at the Commonwealth Day 2024 service
A procession of flagbearers from Commonwealth countries

Goodwill messages from across the Commonwealth

Celebrating Common Values

Her Majesty The Queen attended the Commonwealth Day Reception at the Commonwealth Secretariat's headquarters, Marlborough House, in London. Government ministers and officials, youth leaders, members of accredited organisations, and other distinguished guests listened to inspiring renditions by musicians from Ghana, Samoa, and South Africa.

Her Majesty The Queen and Commonwealth Secretary-General
Her Majesty The Queen and Commonwealth Secretary-General, the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC, at the Commonwealth Day Reception at Marlborough House in London

During the reception, the Secretary-General recognised five individuals with Hero Awards, each of them she said had provided exceptional service to the Commonwealth Secretariat.  

The honourees included: 

  • Global CEO, NO MORE Foundation, Pamela Zaballa; 
  • Director of Partnerships, NO MORE Foundation, Melissa Morbeck; 
  • Director, Cyprus Says No More Chapter, Marios Kyriacou; and 
  • Director, Cyprus Says No More Chapter, Yiannos Spyrou;. and 

The CEO of the Commonwealth Veteran's & Families Support Group, Ilimo Torau, will receive his award at a later date.

The theme for this year's Commonwealth Day was 'One Resilient Common Future'. This theme echoes the message of shared common values and a desire for improved sustainability that underpins the theme for the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Samoa.    

The 75th anniversary of the modern Commonwealth will also be celebrated in 2024.  

Watch the BBC broadcast of the Commonwealth Day Service on YouTube

View a Flickr photo gallery of Commonwealth Day events

About Commonwealth Day

Media contact

  • Ijeoma Onyeator Communications Officer, Media and Public Affairs, Commonwealth Secretariat

  • +44 20 7747 6175  |  E-mail