Royal Family to Celebrate Commonwealth Day 2023

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Queen Elizabeth II and the Prince of Wales leaving after the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey, London on Commonwealth Day, 2020
Queen Elizabeth II and the Prince of Wales leaving after the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey, London on Commonwealth Day, 2020

THE KING, THE QUEEN AND MEMBERS OF THE ROYAL FAMILY CELEBRATE COMMONWEALTH DAY 2023

Monday 13th March 2023

Engagement 1:

The King, Head of the Commonwealth, and the Queen, accompanied by the Prince and Princess of Wales, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, the Princess Royal and Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, will attend the annual Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey.

The Commonwealth represents a global network of 56 countries, having been joined by Gabon and Togo in 2022. Working in collaboration towards shared economic, environmental, social and democratic goals, the service seeks to highlight a vast community which spans every geographical region, religion and culture, embracing the diversity of it its population of 2.5 billion people, of which over 60 per cent are under 30 years old.

The Commonwealth Day theme for 2023 is ‘Forging a Sustainable and Peaceful Common Future’, highlighting the active commitment of the family of nations to support the promotion of peace, prosperity and sustainability, especially through climate action, to secure a better future for young people and improve the lives of all Commonwealth citizens. At the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2022, it was decided that this year would be dedicated to youth-led action for sustainable and inclusive development.

Upon Their Majesties’ arrival at Westminster Abbey, the King and Queen will be met by the Dean of Westminster before greeting members of Ngāti Rānana London Māori Club, who will perform at the Great West Door ahead of the Commonwealth Service. The service will commence with a procession of Commonwealth member states’ flags. As 2023 is the Commonwealth Year of Peace, a specially designed Commonwealth Flag for Peace will also be processed this year.

The King will deliver His Majesty’s Commonwealth Day Message from the Great Pulpit. The service will include special musical performances from saxophonist Yolanda Brown, West End stars Roshani Abbey and Nuwan Hugh Perera, and the all-female, Amalgamation Choir, from Cyprus. Marking Rwanda’s role as the current Commonwealth Chair-in-Office, having hosted the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in 2022, the Rwandan National Ballet, Urukerereza, will also perform.

A reflection will be given by young Samoan environmental advocate Brianna Fruean, who was the youngest recipient of a Commonwealth Youth Award aged just 16 years old. Samoa is the incoming Commonwealth Chair-in-Office, and will host CHOGM in 2024.

Members of the royal family will meet people involved in the Service, including the Commonwealth flag bearers, on departure.

Guests of honour among the 2,000 strong congregation will include the Commonwealth Secretary-General, the Prime Minister of Samoa, High Commissioners, senior politicians and dignitaries from across the UK and the Commonwealth, alongside athletes from the home nations who competed at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham last summer, faith leaders and more than 750 schoolchildren and young people from throughout the UK.

Organised by the Royal Commonwealth Society, the service will be broadcast live on BBC One in celebration of the first Commonwealth Day to be marked during His Majesty’s reign.

Engagement 2:

The King and Queen will host the Commonwealth Secretary-General, High Commissioners, Foreign Affairs Ministers and other members of the Commonwealth community at Buckingham Palace for the annual Commonwealth Day Reception. Their Majesties will be joined by the Prince and Princess of Wales, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, the Princess Royal and Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence.

Ahead of the reception, the King will sign the Commonwealth Charter, a single document outlining the sixteen core values of the association, which the leaders of the Commonwealth have committed to upholding. The charter was signed by Queen Elizabeth II at Marlborough House on Commonwealth Day in 2013.

The King and Queen will then meet Samoan musicians who will perform during the reception, before joining members of the royal family and guests to celebrate Commonwealth Day.

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