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HM The Queen attends 2012 Commonwealth celebration

Monday, 12th March 2012

HM The Queen attends 2012 Commonwealth celebration

An Observance for Commonwealth Day at Westminster Abbey on Monday 12th March 2012 was attended by HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh with HRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall and HRH The Countess of Wessex.

Senator The Honourable Jan McLucas, of the Australian Senate, represented the Chairperson-in-Office of the Commonwealth.

In his Bidding the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, said:

In The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year, we recall in particular Her Majesty’s coronation here on 2nd June 1953. We give thanks for sixty years of faithful service to this Nation, the Realms, and the whole Commonwealth under God.

In The Queen’s Commonwealth Day Message, Her Majesty said:

This year, our Commonwealth focus seeks to explore how we can share and strengthen the bond of Commonwealth citizenship we already enjoy by using our cultural connections to help bring us even closer together, as family and friends across the globe.‘Connecting Cultures, our Commonwealth theme this year, encourages us to consider the special opportunities we have, as members of this unique gathering of nations, to celebrate an extraordinary cultural tapestry that reflects our many individual and collective identities. The Commonwealth treasures and respects this wealth of diversity.

The Commonwealth Secretary-General HE Kamalesh Sharma read the Act of Affirmation to the Commonwealth.

The Address was given by Dr Jane Goodall DBE, Scientific Director, Mahale-Gombe Wildlife Research Institute, Tanzania.

Reflections were read by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Andrew Forrest.
Liz Lochhead read her own poem Connecting Cultures and Senator McLucas read St John 4; 5-14.

There were performances by Rufus Wainwright, Hugh Masekela and the Descarga Dance Company.

The Commonwealth Youth Orchestra conducted by Paul Carroll performed before the service. Laura Wright sang Stronger as one, composed by Robert Hartshorne, which was specially commissioned for Commonwealth Day 2012, and also performed before the service.

The Choir of Westminster Abbey was conducted by James O’Donnell, Organist and Master of the Choristers and the organ was played by Robert Quinney, Sub Organist.

The flags of 53 Commonwealth countries were paraded through the Abbey at the start of the service.

See also:

The Observance Programme (PDF, 3.8 MB)

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