Organised by the Royal Commonwealth Society, the Commonwealth Service is the world’s premier, inter-faith, public event to celebrate the Commonwealth of Nations and provides an opportunity to focus attention on this voluntary association of 54 countries and their commitment to promoting democracy, human rights, the rule of law and equality for its 2.4 billion citizens.

The aim of the Commonwealth Service is to celebrate the unity, diversity, and linkages of the modern Commonwealth and to foster greater understanding of the Commonwealth’s achievements and role, particularly amongst its young people.

The Service takes place in the presence of some 2,000 guests including Her Majesty The Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Members of The Royal Family, Commonwealth and UK diplomatic representatives and members of the public, in addition to over 700 young people from across the United Kingdom.

Focused around the annual Commonwealth theme the Service features a vibrant mixture of testimonies, performances, and readings from different parts of the Commonwealth. In recent years, the Society has been honoured by the participation of Nobel Laureates Kofi Annan, Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi as well as UN Patron of Oceans, Lewis Pugh, entrepreneur, Richard Branson and British world heavyweight boxing champion and Olympic gold medallist, Anthony Joshua OBE (read his message to the Commonwealth).

The Service has also been privileged to feature performances from Craig David, Alexandra Burke, Ellie Goulding, Clean Bandit, Alfie Boe, Liam Payne and Annie Lennox.

The Service is broadcast live on BBC One, the BBC YouTube channel and covered by the BBC World Service allowing a greater number of Commonwealth citizens across the globe to enjoy this Commonwealth Day celebration.

William Barton, an internationally celebrated didgeridoo artist who performed Kalkadungu’s Journey at the Commonwealth Service in 2019 tells us what the Commonwealth means to him and how music connects us all:

Resources: 

  1. Read Her Majesty The Queen's Commonwealth Day Message

  2. Watch the Commonwealth Service 2020 and download the Order of Service

  3. Read our blog on the Service for more information about the speakers and performers, videos, transcripts and photos.

  4. Find out more about the Commonwealth theme, Delivering a Common Future: Connecting, Innovating Transforming.