Published 12 March 2018

Commonwealth Day is an annual opportunity to celebrate the links between Commonwealth communities across the world. The day is being marked with a service at Westminster Abbey, and a reception at Marlborough House

The Queen holding a posy outside Westminster Abbey

Celebrations are being led by The Queen as Head of the Commonwealth.

Arrivals at the Abbey

The service is the largest annual inter-faith gathering in the UK and sees people from around the Commonwealth come together to celebrate the day.

The Queen's work as Head of the Commonwealth is supported by other members of the Royal Family, who attend the service in addition to their own work around the Commonwealth through Commonwealth visits and charities. 

The service

Led by the Dean of Westminster, the service encompasses traditional hymns and readings, with performances from artists around the Commonwealth and thought-provoking speeches from community leaders. The theme this year is 'Towards a Common Future', which emphasizes how the Commonwealth can address global challenges and work to create a better future for all citizens through sub-themes of sustainability, safety, prosperity and fairness.

As they left the Abbey, members of the Royal Family met those who had attended and taken part in the service. 

The Commonwealth in 2018

Commonwealth Day marks one of many high points in what is particularly busy and significant year for Commonwealth countries. 

The evening reception

This evening, The Prince of Wales, accompanied by The Duchess of Cornwall and The Duke of Cambridge, attended a reception at Marlborough House on behalf of The Queen.

Their Royal Highnesses were guests of the Secretary-General of The Commonwealth and had a chance to meet guests also celebrating.

The London Maori Choir performed at the reception, which was held at the home of the Commonwealth Secretariat. 

 

Also during Commonwealth Day, The Earl of Wessex attended the Launch of the new Merseyside and Cheshire Commonwealth Association.

The Earl of Wessex on Commonwealth Day 2018

The organisation will promote and spread knowledge regarding the peoples and countries of the Commonwealth and their cultures, supporting bilateral trade and advancing education about the Commonwealth. During HRH's speech, The Earl also read out a letter written by The Queen, in support of the launch.

The new organisation covering Merseyside and Cheshire is a geographic extension of the Liverpool Commonwealth Association, which was established in 2015.

Many members of the Commonwealth Diaspora were invited to attend the event and to wear national dress – in part of The Commonwealth Day celebrations.  Over 30 local companies also exhibited in the marketplace, which The Earl visited. The organisation ties into The Earl's work with The Duke of Edinburgh Award, which has recently added international business and export into the skills young people can develop within the scheme.