Queen says Commonwealth diversity ‘makes us stronger’

The Queen has used her Commonwealth Day message to praise the diversity of the family of nations whose blend of traditions “serves to make us stronger”.

In her annual message, the head of state highlighted how global connectivity makes people aware their “choices and actions” can affect the “well-being of people and communities living far away” – and inspires many to be more careful with natural resources.

The Queen’s words will be printed in the order of service accompanying the Commonwealth Day service on Monday at Westminster Abbey, attended by the Queen and senior members of the royal family, Boris Johnson and a 2,000-strong congregation.

But the event is likely to be overshadowed by the appearance of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex attending their last official event as working members of the monarchy, before they begin their new life as financially independent royals on March 31.

Duke and Duchess of Sussex visit to Canada House
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will attend the service (Yui Mok/PA)

Harry and Meghan have been carrying out a string of final public appearances over the past few days in the wake of their decision to step back as senior royals and earn their own income.

The Queen says in her message: “On Commonwealth occasions, it is always inspiring to be reminded of the diversity of the people and countries that make up our worldwide family.

“We are made aware of the many associations and influences that combine through Commonwealth connection, helping us to imagine and deliver a common future.”

The Queen goes on to say: “Such a blend of traditions serves to make us stronger, individually and collectively, by providing the ingredients needed for social, political and economic resilience.”

The theme for 2020 Commonwealth Day is – Delivering A Common Future: Connecting, Innovating, Transforming – and the head of state touched on this topic in her message.

She said: “Throughout my life, I have had the opportunity to see and hear how membership of the Commonwealth family means so much to those living in all parts of the world, often in places that are quite remote.

“Advances in technology and modern media have now enabled many more people to witness and enjoy – with remarkable immediacy – this experience of Commonwealth connection, in areas such as education, medicine and conservation.

“Looking to the future, this connectivity means we are also aware, perhaps as never before, that wherever we live, our choices and actions affect the well-being of people and communities living far away, and in very different circumstances.”

“For many, this awareness awakens a desire to employ our planet’s natural resources with greater care…”

The Commonwealth Day service will be broadcast live on BBC One and across the BBC World Service.

International boxing champion and Olympic gold medallist Anthony Joshua will deliver a reflection, while singers Alexandra Burke and Craig David will perform.

Guests of honour among the 2,000-strong congregation will include the Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Commonwealth secretary-general Baroness Scotland, high commissioners, ambassadors, faith leaders and more than 800 schoolchildren and young people.

Baroness Scotland’s term of office is due to end this month, but she is expected to bid to retain her position as secretary-general of the intergovernmental organisation despite a number of Commonwealth countries rejecting plans to offer her another four years in office.

The Queen and the royal family will meet people involved in the service and walk past the Commonwealth flag bearers as they leave.

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