THE COMMONWEALTH DAY SERVICE
The Somerset Guardian, 11th March 2020
On Monday, I had the privilege of attending the annual Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey.
The event is a celebration of the Commonwealth, which includes fifty-three countries across the world as well as the United Kingdom, with the service led by the Dean of Westminster.
Around 2,000 guests attended, including Her Majesty the Queen, senior members of the Royal Family, the Prime Minister, various politicians, high commissioners and ambassadors. As well as the superb resident choir, there were performances by British pop singers, an African drumming group and a reflective piece that was read by the boxer, Anthony Joshua, where he discussed his Commonwealth heritage.
A mace was carried in by Darrion Narine of Trinidad and Tobago before Her Majesty entered Westminster Abbey. The Mace, which was given to the Queen as Head of the Commonwealth on the 40th anniversary of her accession to the throne, is used on special occasions such as Commonwealth Day and at biennial Heads of Government meetings.
The importance of the Queen's role as Head of the Commonwealth can and should never be underestimated. She has worked endlessly during her reign to ensure that '...people and countries of the Commonwealth will be inspired by all that we share and move forward with fresh resolve to enhance the Commonwealth's influence for the good of our world.'
There are many commentators decrying the existence of the Commonwealth, citing it as an imperial anachronism and saying that there is no place for such an organisation in the modern world. This could not be further from the truth. It is the cohesiveness and connectivity of the Commonwealth, the consistency it has brought under the auspices of the Queen, that provides much-needed stability and hope to an ever-fragmenting world.