Yesterday, Monday 9th March, in the presence of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and other senior members of the royal family, a Service of Celebration for Commonwealth Day was held in London’s Westminster Abbey. A multi-faith ceremony featuring representatives from each of the Commonwealth’s member states, the service is the highlight of the Commonwealth year and begins with a procession of every state’s flag, followed by readings, music and dance from around the Commonwealth.
Dominic Raab, UK Foreign Secretary and British High Commissions across the world marked Commonwealth Day as leaders gathered in London for the annual commemorative service at Westminster Abbey.
Commonwealth Day is an annual celebration of the Commonwealth of Nations – 53 countries that were previously a part of the British Empire, as well as Britain itself and its overseas territories. Sixteen of these states still recognise the British Queen as their monarch. Altogether, it is celebrated by over 2 billion people, or about a third of the world’s population, with street parties, parades, debates, flag-raising ceremonies and all kinds of other festive activities.
The new British High Commission in Samoa held the UK’s earliest and easternmost Commonwealth Day celebration, while a workshop for female fashion entrepreneurs took place in Sierra Leone and a youth Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting was held in India, with university students having their say on climate change.
As an institution uniting 2.4 billion people across 54 countries, the Commonwealth is unique in the diversity of its partnerships, spanning 6 continents and making up a fifth of all global trade. Some of the largest global challenges are being tackled through the Commonwealth, from combatting climate change to preventing cyber-crime and creating a brighter future for the next generation.
As the current Chair-in-Office, the UK is at the heart of the organisation, which spans across 6 continents, represents a third of the World Trade Organisation and a quarter of the G20.
World leaders have already agreed to be a global force for good in tackling the major challenges of this century – from reducing plastics in the ocean and ensuring 12 years of quality education for all children, to increasing trade within the Commonwealth.
Following that agreement, 31 member states have joined the UK and Vanuatu-led Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance, more than 8 million people will have been reached by antibiotic distribution by CHOGM 2020 and we are on track to increase trade between Commonwealth nations to more than £1.5 trillion by 2030.
After Queen Victoria died in 1901, her birthday (24 May) was anointed Empire Day. It was celebrated in countries all around the Empire as a patriotic holiday, re-enforcing the idea of the greatness of the British Empire. It continued until 1958 when Prime Minister Harold MacMillan announced that it would be renamed Commonwealth Day.
There is full information about The Commonwealth of Nations
There is more information about The Commonwealth Day 2020 Service of Celebration
JHL MBE SSL Co. Chairman