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Queen praises Commonwealth for standing ‘ever taller’ in annual message

Speaker of the House of Commons Sir Lindsay Hoyle during a commemorative ceremony and laying of wreaths at the Commonwealth Memorial Gates in London. Photo by Yui Mok/PA

By Tony Jones, PA Court Correspondent

The Queen has said she hopes the people of the Commonwealth “can draw strength and inspiration from what we share” during these “testing times”.

The head of state’s comments were made in her annual message to the “family of nations” released on Commonwealth Day, as many countries continued to battle Covid-19 and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine threatened world peace and economic stability.

Now in the 70th year of her reign, the 95-year-old monarch said it had made her happy, during her Platinum Jubilee year, to reaffirm the pledge she made in 1947 as a 21-year-old to devote her life in service to the nation and Commonwealth.

The Queen sounded a positive note, extolling the virtues of the Commonwealth which “continues to be a point of connection, co-operation and friendship”.

Her message to the family of nation’s 2.5 billion citizens was released just ahead of a Westminster Abbey service marking Commonwealth Day, with guests to include the Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and hundreds of dignitaries and young people.

Missing was the Queen who recently recovered from a bout of Covid and asked Charles to represent her after she decided not to attend following discussions with her household about arrangements for the event.

With the monarch now regularly using a stick and recently telling two senior military officers during a Windsor Castle reception “well, as you can see, I can’t move” when asked how she was, the decision is being interpreted as a mobility issue rather than a new health problem.

The Queen is due to celebrate her 96th birthday in under six weeks and maintaining her comfort is a consideration and it is understood she has been pacing herself, although the head of state was keen to do what work she could during her bout of Covid.

In her written message, the Queen said: “In this year of my Platinum Jubilee, it has given me pleasure to renew the promise I made in 1947, that my life will always be devoted in service.

“Today, it is rewarding to observe a modern, vibrant and connected Commonwealth that combines a wealth of history and tradition with the great social, cultural and technological advances of our time. That the Commonwealth stands ever taller is a credit to all who have been involved.”

The head of state went on to say: “Our family of nations continues to be a point of connection, co-operation and friendship.

“It is a place to come together to pursue common goals and the common good, providing everyone with the opportunity to serve and benefit.

“In these testing times, it is my hope that you can draw strength and inspiration from what we share, as we work together towards a healthy, sustainable and prosperous future for all.”

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