Every year on the second Monday in March, 54 countries join together in celebration of the links they share as members of one diverse and dynamic global family – the modern Commonwealth.
In the UK, one way in which this special day is celebrated is with a unique event in London’s Westminster Abbey coordinated by the Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS). The UK’s largest multi-faith celebration, the Commonwealth Day Observance is attended by Her Majesty The Queen, the Prime Minister, High Commissioners, up to 200 other VIPs and more than 1,000 schoolchildren.
The Commonwealth Day Observance takes a different theme each year. And in 2013 we are celebrating ‘Opportunity through Enterprise.’ Through a mix of world music, dance and personal testimonies, the event will celebrate economic innovation throughout the Commonwealth and our shared commitment towards youth, social and sustainable enterprise.
Her Majesty The Queen, accompanied by His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, will attend the annual Commonwealth Day Observance at Westminster Abbey on Monday, 11th March 2013 at 3.15pm.
Today, Sir Richard Branson, entrepreneur and philanthropist, will give the Address. There will be music form the award-winning soul singer Beverley Knight, and indie-rock band The Noisettes. The children’s poet, John Agard, will read a poem which has been specially commissioned for the service.
The theme for this year’s Observance is ‘Opportunity through enterprise’. Through a mix of world music, dance and personal testimonies, the event will celebrate economic innovation throughout the Commonwealth and a shared commitment towards youth, social and sustainable enterprise.
In April 1949, Heads of State from Australia, Britain, Ceylon, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, and the Canadian Secretary of State for External Affairs met in London and deliberated over six days. The outcome was the Declaration of London which gave birth to the modern Commonwealth. The origins of the Commonwealth stretch back much further than sixty years, but 1949 marks the pivotal point at which the Commonwealth’s colonial legacy was positively transformed into a partnership based on equality, choice, and consensus. The organisation decided at a meeting in Canberra in 1976 that Commonwealth Day would be celebrated on the second Monday in March each year.
Photo: Commonwealth Flag
Information From: The Royal Commonwealth Society and Westminster Abbey online