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Commonwealth vision inspires us, says Queen

File photo dated 20/02/18 of Queen Elizabeth II, who is to attend a star-studded concert to celebrate her 92nd birthday. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Saturday April 21, 2018. See PA story ROYAL Queen. Photo credit should read: Chris Jackson/PA Wire

The Queen has used her Commonwealth Day message to praise how the family of nations inspires its member states to find ways of protecting the planet and its citizens.

Millions of people are "drawn together" because of the collective values shared by the institution, the Queen says in her address to the 53 countries of the Commonwealth.

The written message is featured in the order of service for the annual Commonwealth Day service being held on Monday, attended by senior members of the royal family and national figures.

The Queen, who is head of the Commonwealth, says in her message: "Today, many millions of people around the world are drawn together because of the collective values shared by the Commonwealth.

"In April last year, I welcomed the leaders of our 53 nations to Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, and we all witnessed how the Commonwealth vision offers hope, and inspires us to find ways of protecting our planet, and our people.

"We are able to look to the future with greater confidence and optimism as a result of the links that we share, and thanks to the networks of co-operation and mutual support to which we contribute, and on which we draw.

"With enduring commitment through times of great change, successive generations have demonstrated that whilst the goodwill for which the Commonwealth is renowned may be intangible, its impact is very real."

The Queen will be joined at the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey by the Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Duke and Duchess of Sussex and the Duke of York.

Other guests among the 2,000-strong congregation will include Prime Minister Theresa May, the Commonwealth Secretary-General Baroness Scotland, alongside high commissioners, ambassadors, faith leaders and more than 800 schoolchildren and young people.

Commonwealth Day has a special significance this year, as 2019 marks the 70th anniversary of the modern Commonwealth - a global network of 53 countries and almost 2.4 billion people.

The theme for this year's service is "A Connected Commonwealth" which highlights the co-operation between the culturally diverse family of nations who work together in friendship.

Highlights of the service include performances by Grammy-winning group Clean Bandit and tenor Alfie Boe. A reflection will be given by Lewis Pugh, an endurance swimmer, ocean advocate and the UN Patron of the Oceans.

Organised by the Royal Commonwealth Society, the Commonwealth Service is the largest annual inter-faith gathering in the UK and will be broadcast live on BBC One.

Later in the evening, Charles and Camilla will be guests of the Commonwealth Secretary-General at the annual reception which traditionally takes place on Commonwealth Day at Marlborough House, the home of the Commonwealth Secretariat, the institution's civil service.

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