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British Royals

The Royal Family plan virtual Commonwealth Day as major celebration cancelled

Queen Elizabeth II
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The annual Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey has been cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic. The ceremony was due to take place on March 7th 2021.

Commonwealth Day sees the Royal Family come together at the Abbey for a service celebrating all the member countries of the organisation. The ceremony focuses on achievements and future hopes and usually sees the majority of the Queens’ family in attendance.

Westminster Abbey announced on February 22nd that this year’s service wouldn’t go ahead because of the pandemic. Instead, The Queen will take part in a special TV programme, called A Celebration for Commonwealth Day, which will be shown on March 7th. Her Majesty will record a special message for the programme.

The broadcast will also include reflections from The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and The Earl and Countess of Wessex. It will feature readings and music from across the Commonwealth. Anita Rani will present the programme from Westminster Abbey.

The Dean of Westminster, the Reverend David Hoyle, will lead prayers and blessings alongside other faith leaders. Ahead of the programme, he said ‘‘We have seized the chance to take the celebration well beyond these walls. We are so pleased that this rich and vibrant BBC programme with the Royal Family and the Abbey at its heart will celebrate our global connections at a time when we are all so physically isolated.’’

The Commonwealth Day Service has been held at Westminster Abbey since 1972.

About author

Lydia Starbuck is Associate Editor at Royal Central and the main producer and presenter of the Royal Central Podcast and Royal Central Extra. Lydia is also a pen name of June Woolerton, a journalist and writer with over twenty years experience in TV, radio, print and online. June has been a reporter, producer and editor, picking up several awards over the years. She's appeared on outlets including BBC 5 Live, BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Local Radio and has also helped set up a commercial radio station. June is also an accomplished writer with a wide range of material published online and in print. She is the author of two novels, published as e-books. She is also a marriage registrar and ceremony celebrant.