Queen Elizabeth II has praised the “Commonwealth connection” that allows people from different nations to bond and celebrate “diversity”, in her Commonwealth Day message. London on Monday hosted a gathering of leaders from the 53 member nations, with the Queen's Commonwealth Day message featuring in a service at Westminster Abbey.
In her message, the Queen added that the Commonwealth is an example of how consensus can help to create a future that is fairer, more secure, more prosperous and sustainable.
As well as Prime Minister Theresa May and senior members of the Royal Family, Meghan Markle also attended the service - her first official event with the Queen ahead of her marriage to Prince Harry on May 19.
Prince Harry and Ms Markle signaled their commitment to the Commonwealth and its people when they both mentioned the institution - which has the Queen as its head - during an interview to mark their engagement.
The prince said they looked forward to travelling around the Commonwealth, meeting some of the 2.4 billion people from the 53 member states.
Commonwealth Day Message by The Queen, Head of the Commonwealth
We all have reason to give thanks for the numerous ways in which our lives are enriched when we learn from others. Through exchanging ideas, and seeing life from other perspectives, we grow in understanding and work more collaboratively towards a common future. There is a very special value in the insights we gain through the Commonwealth connection; shared inheritances help us overcome difference so that diversity is a cause for celebration rather than division.
We shall see this in action at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting which takes place in the United Kingdom next month, bringing together young people, business and civil society from across the Commonwealth.
These gatherings are themselves fine examples of how consensus and commitment can help to create a future that is fairer, more secure, more prosperous and sustainable. Having enjoyed the warm hospitality of so many Commonwealth countries over the years, I look forward to the pleasure of welcoming the leaders of our family of 53 nations to my homes in London and Windsor.
Sport also contributes to building peace and development. The excitement and positive potential of friendly rivalry will be on display next month as we enjoy the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, Australia. Contributing to the success of the Games, alongside athletes and officials, will be thousands of volunteers.
Voluntary effort, by people working as individuals, in groups or through larger associations, is so often what shapes the Commonwealth and all our communities. By pledging to serve the common good in new ways, we can ensure that the Commonwealth continues to grow in scope and stature, to have an even greater impact on people’s lives, today, and for future generations.