Royal Family attend Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey

Commonwealth Service 2017
7-year-old Sophie Hall and Rebecca Thornton present posies to HM The Queen and HRH The Duchess of Cornwall. Photo: Twitter/wabbey

Her Majesty The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, accompanied by TRH The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall, HRH Prince Harry of Wales, HRH The Duke of York and HRH The Earl of Wessex, attended The Commonwealth Service: A Celebration of the Commonwealth today at Westminster Abbey.

Before the Service, there were performances by The Bhaven and The Commonwealth Festival Choir and Orchestra with the flags of the 53 Commonwealth countries processed through the Abbey at the start of the Service.

The Service this year took the theme of ‘A peace-building Commonwealth,’ re-affirming the Commonwealth Charter principle that ‘international peace and security, sustainable economic growth and development, and the rule of law are essential to the progress and prosperity of all’.

In his Bidding the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, said: “We celebrate this year the Commonwealth as a builder of peace. As we give thanks for diversity of faiths, of resources and circumstances in our countries, we must pray that we may be united in peace and friendship and together promote peace in our divided world.”

The Commonwealth Secretary-General The Right Hon. The Baroness of Scotland of Asthal QC, led the Act of Affirmation to the Commonwealth and reflections were read by Achaleke Christian Leke, 2016 Commonwealth Young Person of the Year; and The Honourable Dr Joseph Muscat KUOM, The Prime Minister of Malta and Commonwealth Chair-in-Office Dr Immanuel Mifsud read his poem The Book; and Kurt Fearnley OAM, Paralympian read Philippians 4: 4-9.

Prayers were said by The Venerable Bogoda Seelawimala, Buddist Communitity; Rabbi Debbie Young-Somers, Reformed Judaism; Trupti Patel, Hindu Community; The Lord Singh of Wimbledon CBE, Sikh Community; Moulana Sayed Ali Abbas Razawi, Shia Muslim Community; and Canon Christopher Tuckwell, Roman Catholic Church.

There were performances by Cody Simpson, Measha Bruggergosman and George the Poet.

The Abbey Choir, conducted by James O’Donnell, Organist and Master of the Choristers, sang O Hearken by Roxanna Panufnik , and I was glad by Hubert Parry and the organ was played by Daniel Cook, Sub-Organist.

British Prime Minister the Rt Hon Theresa May MP was also among the guests at the invite only Service.

The Commonwealth Service is Britain’s largest annual inter-faith gathering, held on the second Monday in March each year. Among the 2,000-strong congregation were more than 1,000 children from schools and youth groups.