London, UK | THE INDEPENDENT | The United Kingdom’s King Charles III for the first time delivered the Commonwealth Day Message during the service of celebration at Westminster Abbey on Monday.
The King spoke in his new role as Head of the Commonwealth at what has been described as a historic occasion, in the presence of senior members of the Royal Family. He pledged commitment to peace, progress, and opportunity.
King Charles III said the Commonwealth day was an occasion of particular pride to his late beloved mother Queen Elizabeth II.
His address coincided with the tenth anniversary of the signing of the Commonwealth Charter, which outlines the values and principles that unify the 56 Commonwealth countries, representing one-third of humanity.
He said the charter gives expression to the defining values of the Commonwealth which include, peace and justice, tolerance, solidarity, care for the environment, and the most vulnerable among us.
‘The Commonwealth has been a constant in my own life, and yet its diversity continues to amaze and inspire me.’
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) March 13, 2023
He said the Commonwealth should play an indispensable role in issues in our time be it climate change, biodiversity loss, youth opportunity in education global health, or economic cooperation.
“The Commonwealth has an incredible opportunity and responsibility to create a genuinely durable future. One that offers the kind of prosperity that is in harmony with nature. And that will also secure our unique and only planet for generations to come,” said King Charles.
After his speech, the clergy from Westminster Abbey led the prayers. Among those were the prayers for those suffering as a consequence of warfare, those stricken by natural disasters, and the peoples of Ukraine, Pakistan, and Turkey.
In August 2022, Pakistan was hit by devastating floods, submerging huge swathes of the country. More than 1,700 people were killed and two million homes were damaged or destroyed. Millions of people have been left in need of food, clean water, shelter, and healthcare.
The Royal Commonwealth Society is delighted to organise the #CommonwealthDay service in partnership. We wish everyone a warm welcome and a wonderful service! We are so pleased to have performances by @NuwanHughPerera @roshaniabbey @NgatiRanana @yolandabrown @urukerereza pic.twitter.com/jf73zfRMgs
— Royal Commonwealth Society (@RoyalCWSociety) March 13, 2023
The Commonwealth Secretary General, Patricia Scotland KC said the tenth anniversary of the signing of the Commonwealth Charter is a historic document that encapsulates the values and aspirations which unite the Commonwealth, values that caution us not to repeat the mistakes of the past but demand that we always work for a more sustainable and peaceful world.
Earlier Rwanda’s Foreign Affair Minister, Dr. Vincent Biruta read from the old testament. He was representing President Paul Kagame who is the Chair of the Commonwealth Heads of Government.
The prayers featured musical performances from all regions of the Commonwealth including artists from New Zealand, and Rwanda.
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