Queen’s Commonwealth Day message: Help those in need

The Queen's message will be played at the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey
The Queen's message will be played at the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey

The Queen has urged the people of the Commonwealth to “support those in need” and others who “feel excluded” in her annual message to the family of nations.

In her address to mark Commonwealth Day the Queen said helping those less fortunate would be a way of embodying this year’s Commonwealth theme of inclusivity.

The Queen’s pre-recorded message will form part of the annual Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey being held on Monday afternoon and attended by the Duke of Edinburgh, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry and a host of dignitaries.

In her address, the Queen, who is head of the Commonwealth, said: “Today, and in the year ahead, the theme An Inclusive Commonwealth is an inspiration for us all.

“Let us give it practical effect by supporting those in need and those who feel excluded in all walks of life. By doing so, we will continue to build a truly representative Commonwealth community.”

The Commonwealth has 53 member countries representing 2.3 billion people, of which 60 per cent are under 30 years old.

The Queen also said working together for the common good was an essential ingredient of belonging to the family of nations.

The monarch said in her address: “Each of us has cause to celebrate the sense of belonging expressed in our 2016 theme: An Inclusive Commonwealth.

“Our recognition of this value, and the wisdom of mutual respect for each other, is set out in the Commonwealth Charter. Its opening words, ‘We the people of the Commonwealth’ convey the conviction that individuals, as well as governments, build and shape our success.

“Being inclusive and accepting diversity goes far deeper than accepting differences at face value and being tolerant.

“True celebration of the dignity of each person, and the value of their uniqueness and contribution, involves reaching out, recognising and embracing their individual identity.”

The Westminster Abbey service will be the largest annual inter-faith gathering in the UK. Highlights will include the principal reflection given by Kofi Annan, former secretary general of the United Nations, and a musical performance by Ellie Goulding.