Members of the Royal Family celebrate Commonwealth Day at the Abbey

Monday, 11th March 2024

Members of the Royal Family celebrate Commonwealth Day at the Abbey

Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales attended the annual Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey on Monday 11th March.

They were accompanied by TRH The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, HRH The Princess Royal, TRH The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and HRH The Duke of Kent.

Marked every year since the 1970s, Commonwealth Day recognises the unity and diversity of a remarkable family of nations, with a special service organised in the Abbey with the Royal Commonwealth Society at the heart of the celebrations.

In the 75th anniversary year of the Commonwealth, the theme for this year’s service was ‘One Resilient Common Future: Transforming our Commonwealth’.

On arrival at the Abbey, The Queen was welcomed by a performance by dancers from Eternal Taal, an all-female group of Indian Dhol drummers.

The King's message

During the service, which was conducted by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle, a recording was played of His Majesty The King’s Commonwealth message saying:

‘My belief in our shared endeavours and in the potential of our people remains as sure and strong as it has ever been. I have no doubt that we will continue to support one another across the Commonwealth as, together, we continue this vital journey.’

About the service

The service included performances by acts from around the Commonwealth including Ugandan dance group The Ghetto Kids; English singer and songwriter Calum Scott and Maltese harpist Jacob Portelli; and Canadian pianist, Spencer Klymyshyn.

Marking Samoa’s role as the incoming Commonwealth Chair-in-Office, there was also a performance by Isabella Moore and Benson Wilson, who sang Samoan folk song Tofa Mai Feleni.

Lise Hosinger, Chief Operating Officer of the 2022 Earthshot Prize winners Notpla – who make plastic alternatives from seaweed - read a reflection.

His Excellency Johnston Busingye, High Commissioner of Rwanda, read from the Epistle of James. Sir Ben Okri read his poem Transcending History, written for the 75th anniversary of the Commonwealth.

Prayers were led by the Reverend Robert Latham, Minor Canon and Sacrist; and words of blessing for the Commonwealth were offered by faith leaders Mrs Trupti Patel, Rabbi Debbie Young-Somers, Mr Vinay Shah, and Maulana Sayed Ali Abbas Razawi.

The Right Honourable Baroness Scotland, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth of Nations, led the Act of Affirmation to the Commonwealth.

The service was sung by The Choir of Westminster Abbey, conducted by Andrew Nethsingha, Organist and Master of the Choristers. The organ was played by Peter Holder, Sub-Organist.

Guests of honour among the 2,000 strong congregation included the President of Malta, Foreign Ministers, High Commissioners, senior politicians and dignitaries from across the Commonwealth, faith leaders, school children and young people from throughout the UK.

Order of service

Watch the service 

You can watch the Commonwealth Day service on YouTube.

Commonwealth Day service 2024

About the Commonwealth and Commonwealth Day

The Commonwealth is an association of 56-member states with a combined population of 2.5 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. 

Held on the second Monday of March each year, the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey celebrates the people and cultures of all of the Commonwealth nations.