Today, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge joined the Queen and Royal Family at the annual Commonwealth Day service held at the Westminster Abbey in London. The service is organized by the Royal Commonwealth Society every year in March on the second Monday.
The Commonwealth, headed by the British Monarch, represents a global network of 54 countries, including the Maldives who re-joined earlier this year. Working in collaboration towards shared economic, environmental, social and democratic goals, the Service seeks to highlight a vast community which spans every geographical region, religion and culture, embracing diversity amongst its population of 2.4 billion people, of which 60 per cent are under 30 years old.
Every year, the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth proposed a theme for the Commonwealth Community and it is approved by the Queen. The Commonwealth theme for 2020 is ‘Delivering A Common Future: Connecting, Innovating, Transforming’, placing emphasis on youth, the environment, trade, governance, and ICT (Information and Communications Technology) and innovation. From working to protect the earth’s natural resources and preserving the planet for generations to come, to championing fair trade and empowering the youth of today to transform the communities of tomorrow, the service celebrates the Commonwealth’s continued commitment to delivering a peaceful, prosperous and more sustainable future for all.
A video of the Royal Family ‘s arrival.
The Edinburgh Tattoo performed traditional Scottish music and dance outside the abbey as the guests arrived.
The service was held at Westminster Abbey in London. The beautiful flowers which adorn the Abbey for today’s Commonwealth Day service are by National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies.
Ahead of the service, the flags of 53 Commonwealth nations were flying in Parliament Square.
The State Trumpeters of the Household Cavalry and the Fanfare Team from the Grenadier Guards Band played the fanfare as The Queen arrives.
Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall waiting for the Queen to arrive.
The service commenced with a procession of Commonwealth Flags. Then the Royal Procession led by the Queen, Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall took place.
Unlike last year, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were not part of the procession this year and were already seated when the Queen arrived. The Earl and Countess of Wessex also attended the service.
Commonwealth Day, formerly known as Empire Day, is the annual celebration of the Commonwealth of Nations. The first Empire Day took place on 24 May 1902, celebrated prior to 1901 as the birthday of Queen Victoria, who died on 22 January 1901. Prince William and Duchess of Cambridge have visited many Commonwealth countries since getting married in 2011 with a recent visit to Pakistan in October 2019. I believe this year too, the royal couple will be embarking on another Commonwealth visit.
Guests of honour among the 2,000 strong congregations include the Prime Minister, the Commonwealth Secretary-General, the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC, alongside High Commissioners, Ambassadors and dignitaries, senior politicians from across the UK and Commonwealth, faith leaders and over 800 school children and young people.
Highlights of the service that was the largest annual inter-faith gathering in the United Kingdom, included a reflection given by international boxing champion and Olympic gold medalist Anthony Joshua, and special musical performances by chart-topping singer/songwriters Alexandra Burke and Craig David.
London-based African master drummers and performers, One Drum, performed ‘Intore’. Intore is a dance performed at Rwandan celebrations which is accompanied by drums.
After the service, the Queen and the members of the Royal Family met people involved in the service after a walk by the Commonwealth Flag Bearers upon departure.
Duke and Duchess of Cambridge talking to the performers and guests.
Duchess of Cambridge received a posy and talked to the school children before leaving.
The complete service is available on the BBC YouTube Channel.
For the annual event, just like last year, this year again The Duchess of Cambridge chose Red and Repeat. She was wearing her red Catherine Walker coat that she first wore at the 2018 Christmas Church Service.
Catherine paired the coat with a new Berry Red hat. She was wearing SADA felt saucer felt hat from British Milliner Sally-Ann Provan. Thanks to Polka Popp for the id. The handmade £460 piece is described as,” This hand-blocked peach bloom felt saucer style hat is trimmed with hand-made silk camellias in toning shades, and finished with hand-made felt leaves in toning shades, and is perfect for a winter wedding or event. Perfect for both town and country wear.” The hat is available on order in different tones and sizes.
The Duchess paired the outfit with her Gianvito Rossi’s ‘Gianvito 105’ Burgundy pumps.
Catherine was carrying her Prada Burgundy Velvet Clutch and
a pair of burgundy gloves.
Do you like the Duchess of Cambridge’s new earrings? Then you must feel like they are something familiar. Duchess was wearing Mouawad diamond and ruby earrings that are part of her Mouawad Diamond and Ruby Necklace and Bracelet. We first saw the necklace and bracelet at the Sun Military Awards in December 2011.
In the evening, The Duchess of Cambridge will host a gala dinner at Buckingham Palace in celebration of Place2Be’s 25th anniversary.