The Commonwealth Games bring nations together in a colourful celebration of sport and human performance. Held every four years, with a hiatus during World War II, the Games have grown from featuring 11 countries and 400 athletes, to a global spectacle of 6,500 sports men and women from across 72 nations and territories.
Underpinned by the core values of humanity, equality and destiny, the Games aim to unite the Commonwealth family through a glorious festival of sport. Often referred to as the ‘Friendly Games’, the event is renowned for inspiring athletes to compete in the spirit of friendship and fair play.
The 2022 Games will be the first time West Midlands has played host to the event, following London 1934, Manchester 2002 and Glasgow 2014. The event will take place from 28 July until 8 August 2022.
Birmingham 2022 will be an opportunity for people from across the Commonwealth to come together in celebration of sport, as well as showcasing the innovation, talent and culture of the West Midlands on a global stage.
The Queen and the Commonwealth
The Queen was 26 years old when she became Head of the Commonwealth in 1952. As Head of the Commonwealth, Her Majesty occupies an important unifying role, personally reinforcing the links by which the Commonwealth joins people together from around the world.
Throughout Her Majesty’s reign, the Commonwealth has grown from just seven nations to 56 members. During this time, The Queen has undertaken more than 200 visits to Commonwealth countries and visited every country of the Commonwealth (with the exception of Cameroon, which joined in 1995, and Rwanda, which joined in 2009) as well as making many repeat visits.
Her Majesty is Patron of the Commonwealth Games Federation.
The waiting is over. The XXII Commonwealth Games is about to get under way and for the next 11 days all eyes will be on Birmingham and the West Midlands of England. To all athletes, officials, spectators and visitors I bid you a very warm welcome and thank you all for coming. It simply wouldn’t be the great festival of sport it is without you.
Yet the Games are more than just about sport, they are the greatest manifestation of the Commonwealth: our extraordinary collection of countries linked together through a myriad of bonds of common interests and relationships. The parallel arts festival is an integral part of this celebration and reminds us of our shared values and the tremendous talent that exists across our family of nations.
The stage is now set and the show is about to begin. To everyone involved in the production, whether behind the scenes or front-of-house: thank you, good luck and enjoy yourselves. I know from all your preparations that you want to make Birmingham 2022 a brilliant and memorable experience.
It is to those who actually have to go on to the stage, the performers and those who are about to compete, that I wish particular good luck, to achieve your best and to inspire the next generation. Whatever your role or involvement, I hope you have an experience of a lifetime and enjoy every moment.
- HRH The Earl of Wessex and Forfar, KG GCVO
Vice-Patron, The Commonwealth Games Federation
The Queen’s Baton Relay
Birmingham 2022 is staging the 16th official Queen’s Baton Relay – an epic journey across the Commonwealth, with The Queen’s Baton visiting all 72 nations and territories.
The Relay began on 7 October 2021, with Her Majesty The Queen placing her Message to the Commonwealth into the Baton.
The Baton then headed off on its 90,000 mile 294-day long journey to every corner of the Commonwealth.
It returned to Birmingham for the Commonwealth Games, where The Queen’s message was revealed by The Prince of Wales:
Representing The Queen, The Prince of Wales officially opened the Commonwealth Games, reading out Her Majesty’s message that had travelled around the Commonwealth in The Queen’s Baton Relay.
The Baton was launched on its journey by The Queen on 7 October 2021 at Buckingham Palace. It has since travelled 90,000 miles over 294 days to all 72 nations and territories of the Commonwealth.
The Duchess of Cornwall, The Earl of Wessex, who is Vice-Patron of the Commonwealth Games Federation, and The Countess of Wessex also attended the Ceremony, which was a spectacle of live music, performance creatives and fireworks.
Prior to the Opening Ceremony, The Prince visited the Athletes Village at the University of Birmingham, meeting Commonwealth Games representatives, volunteers and athletes.
His Royal Highness then visited the Festival Site at Victoria Square, which is home to love music, food, theatre and sporting events.
The Earl and Countess of Wessex attended the Gymnastics at Arena Birmingham, where they met and heard from volunteers and Army veterans helping to deliver the Games, before watching the sport’s morning session.
Their Royal Highnesses then travelled to Coventry Stadium to watch the Rugby Sevens alongside The Princess Royal and Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence.
On arrival, The Earl and Countess will met Commonwealth Games volunteers and staff and thank them for their contribution to the Games.
The Princess Royal also had the chance to visit the Athletes village to chat to some of the national teams and volunteers.
The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester watched the Men's 4000m Individual Pursuit, with The Duke presenting the winning athletes with their medals.
The Earl and Countess of Wessex, Lady Louise and Viscount Severn visited the Games, starting the day at the NEC for some Badminton.
They then watched some Boxing, before heading to the weightlifting.
The day finished at the Sandwell Aquatics Centre for an evening of swimming, where The Earl presented medals for the men's 50m Freestyle S7 Final.
The Earl and Countess of Wessex, Lady Louise and Viscount Severn were back for another day at the Commonwealth Games. Today they were joined by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Princess Charlotte.
First, The Earl and Countess of Wessex were at the Alexander Stadium to watch the opening day of Athletics. The family watched the Women's 100 metre and 800 metre first rounds.
Their Royal Highnesses were next at Sandwell Aquatics Centre where they watched the men’s swimming heats.
After a morning at the pool, the Royal party then watched as England’s women’s hockey team beat India at The University of Birmingham Hockey and Squash Centre.
After the match, The Countess, Patron of England Hockey, and her family congratulated the winning team.
Meanwhile, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, with Princess Charlotte, spoke to athletes at about the Team England Futures programme, a partnership between SportsAid, of which The Duchess is Patron, Sport England, and Commonwealth Games England.
The Duke and Duchess then visited the Arena Birmingham where they enjoyed viewing the Artistic Gymnastics.
In the evening, The Earl and Countess headed to Smithfield for the 3x3 Wheelchair Basketball final. It's the first time the sport has featured at the Commonwealth Games, with The Countess, who is Patron of Great Britain Wheelchair Basketball, marking the occasion by sending a message of support.
Following the matches, The Countess presented the men's medals and The Earl presented the women's medals - congratulations everyone!
On day 6 of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games The Earl and Countess of Wessex, with their children Lady Louise and Viscount Severn, went to watch the mixed doubles Squash.
Did you know Squash made its debut at the 1998 Games and has appeared at every Games since?
His Royal Highness took the time to speak to Em Whitlock and Peter Creed who were competing for Wales.
The Wessexes then travelled to the NEC Arena where the Wales and South Africa Netball teams were competing.
The Countess got stuck in to a Team England training session.
At the Commonwealth Games Athlete Village The Earl and Countess met athletes and volunteers at a lunch hosted by Team GB Olympian Tessa Sanderson.
Finally, The Earl headed off to Leamington Spa for the Lawn Bowls and Para Lawn Bowls.
The Earl of Wessex returned to Games, starting the day at the NEC to watch the Table Tennis women's doubles Quarter Final, where Wales were taking on India.
Wales won the match, and will now progess to the semi-finals. His Royal Highness got the chance to meet some of the Wales' team family and wish them luck.
The Earl then headed to the Sandwell Aquatics Centre for the men's 3m springboard final and the women's synchronised 10m final.
It was an English 1-2-3 in the men's 3m, with His Royal Highness presenting the medals - Gold for Daniel Goodfellow, SIlver for Jordan Houlden and Bronze for Jack Laugher.
On the penultimate day of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games The Earl of Wessex visited the Commonwealth Games Federation Games Operation Centre where he met and thanked some of the many who have made the games possible.
His Royal Highness then went to Edgbaston Cricket Ground to watch England compete with New Zealand for the bronze medal.
The Earl then stopped in to watch England's James Willstrop and Declan James win the Men's Squash Doubles semi-final.
As Patron of England Hockey, The Countess of Wessex sent her congratulations to the Women’s Team on their Gold Medal win.
Massive, massive congratulations to England Hockey - well-deserved Commonwealth Gold medallists. Well done Holly for leading such a fabulous team. I am so happy and so, so proud of you all. You are all stars.
Finally, The Earl attended a reception in anticipation of the 2026 Victoria Games. The Earl met representatives from the four Traditional Owner groups on whose land the 2026 games will be held.
The final day of the Games started with The Earl visiting some of the unseen areas, where he got the chance to say thank you to all those who helped make the Games a success.
Starting at the Multi Agency Command Centre - where the police and other government agencies ensure everything goes smoothly behind the scenes - His Royal Highness then chatted to some soldiers from Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment who have been helping with security.
Next it was time to see International Broadcast Centre, where The Earl thanked the people who’ve allowed millions of viewers to enjoy the Games across the world.
His Royal Highness then headed to University of Birmingham to watch the men’s hockey final, which was won by Australia.
He presented the medals, which was the final medal ceremony of the Games, with India taking Silver and England Bronze.
There was also a chance to speak to the Ball Girls and Boys who worked on all the hockey events - thank you for all your hard work!
Taking place at the Alexander Stadium, the Closing Ceremony paid tribute to the musical heritage of the West Midlands and featured performances from artists including Apache Indian, Beverley Knight, Dexys Midnight Runners, Goldie, Jacob Banks, Jaykae and Jorja Smith.
The athletes had the chance to parade in the stadium in front of a crowd of 30,000.
As Vice-Patron of the Commonwealth Games Federation, The Earl of Wessex officially closed the Games:
“You have inspired us and hopefully future generations. You have also demonstrated what unites us. Thank you, Birmingham and the West Midlands.”
There was also a formal handover to the state of Victoria, Australia, which is hosting the 2026 Commonwealth Games.
Thank you Birmingham for an incredible Games!