Her Majesty The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh attended an Observance for Commonwealth Day at Westminster Abbey on Monday 10th March 2014.

They were accompanied by TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall and TRH The Earl and Countess of Wessex.

In his Bidding the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, said: ‘In this year of the Commonwealth Games, we think in particular of the unique character of the Commonwealth, bringing people together from countries large and small, rich and poor, each with their own distinctive histories and traditions, and building from all the teams a coherent international community, Team Commonwealth.

‘United by ties of friendship, we gather here representing the Commonwealth’s rich diversity of faiths. We shall pray, each in our own way, that all may learn to depend on each, and each be dependable for all. Let us recall the words of St Paul: ‘If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honoured, all rejoice together with it.’

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

The Address was given by Malala Yousafzai.

Reflections were read by the Right Honourable The Lord Coe CH KBE, and the Right Honourable The Baroness Grey-Thompson DBE.

Phillippa Yaa de Villers read Courage - it takes more and Joel Hodgson read 1 Corinthians 12: 12-16.

Prayers were said by Canon Christopher Tuckwell, Roman Catholic Church; the Venerable Bogoda Seelamiwala, Buddhist community; Rabbi Danny Rich, Liberal Jewish community; Anil Bhanot OBE, Hindu community; Arezoo Farahzad, Baha’i community; Maulana Raza Shabbar, Shia Muslim community; and the Reverend Martin Turner, Methodist community.

There were performances by: the Pipes and Drums of Gordon’s School, the Visual Statement Dance Company, and Laura Mvula.

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

Before the service, The Queen took part in a Commonwealth flag-breaking ceremony outside the Abbey’s Great West Door. This was the last of over 500 Commonwealth flags raised by local authorities and community groups throughout the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man in celebration of Commonwealth Day.

The Commonwealth Youth Orchestra, under the direction of Paul Carroll, played before the Observance.

The flags of the 52 Commonwealth countries were paraded through the Abbey at the start of the service. The Commonwealth Mace was carried by David Lacey.

See also:

The Order of Service  (PDF, KB)

The Address, given by Malala Yousafzai 

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