A Celebration for Commonwealth Day to be shown on BBC One
Monday, 22nd February 2021
A special programme to be broadcast on BBC One will replace this year's Commonwealth Day service.
The annual service had been due to take place on Monday 8th March, attended by Her Majesty The Queen and members of the Royal Family, but will not go ahead due to the pandemic.
Instead, HM The Queen will share her annual message in 'A Celebration for Commonwealth Day', which will be broadcast at 5.00pm (GMT) on Sunday 7th March on BBC One.
TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and HRH The Countess of Wessex will also take part in the programme, sharing their perspectives on the importance of our Commonwealth links.
Presented from the Abbey by Anita Rani, this Commonwealth celebration will hear voices from across the world alongside music and readings, including performances by the Choir of Westminster Abbey, Nitin Sawhney, Lianne La Havas, Alexis Ffrench, and a reflection by double Commonwealth gold medal winning athlete Denise Lewis. The Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle, will lead prayers and blessings and will be joined by faith leaders from around the Commonwealth.
Dr Hoyle said:
‘The Commonwealth Service is one of the Abbey’s most important annual services, but as it is not possible to gather here, we have seized the chance to take the celebration well beyond these walls. We are so pleased that this rich and vibrant BBC programme with the Royal Family and the Abbey at its heart will celebrate our global connections at a time when we are all so physically isolated.’
The Commonwealth is an association of 54 member states with a combined population of 2.4 billion citizens, almost a third of the world's people. Commonwealth countries span Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe and the Pacific and are diverse – they are amongst the world’s largest, smallest, richest and poorest countries.
The Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey has been held since 1972. It is Britain’s largest meeting place for faiths, and celebrates the people and cultures of the Commonwealth nations.