6 June 2012
Commonwealth Diamond Jubilee lunch hosted at Marlborough House
Commonwealth leaders gathered at Marlborough House in London, UK, on 6 June 2012 to honour HM Queen Elizabeth II, Head of the Commonwealth, at a special Diamond Jubilee lunch.
The event, hosted by Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma, drew Heads of Government and heads of state from across Africa, the Americas, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe and the Pacific. High commissioners, former Commonwealth Secretaries-General - Sir Shridath Ramphal and Chief Emeka Anyaoku - and representatives of the Commonwealth's 54 member countries, also attended the event.
In an accolade to the Queen, the Secretary-General said: “Two billion citizens of the Commonwealth are represented here today. This gathering is testimony to the profound sense of gratitude, respect and affection felt towards Your Majesty.
“The Commonwealth remains vibrant as it renews its role. Never before, and surely never again, has so diverse a group of nations, representing a third of the world’s peoples, been joined in free and voluntary association with the same Head as the manifestation of that unity for sixty years.”
Mr Sharma also gave his warm wishes for the full and speedy recovery of HRH the Duke of Edinburgh and thanked him for his steadfast support to the Queen, and for being a committed, loyal and active supporter of the Commonwealth himself.
The Prime Minister of St Kitts and Nevis, Dr Denzil L Douglas, delivered a toast to the Queen.
John Key, Prime Minister of New Zealand, said: “What a wonderful spectacle – a great opportunity for Commonwealth leaders to pay tribute to a most magnificent Queen.”
President Joyce Banda of Malawi described the event as very successful. Speaking of the Queen as Head of the Commonwealth, she said only a person of such extraordinary warmth and unique personality could enjoy the respect and admiration that the Queen had garnered at the helm of the association for so many years.
The Queen wore a floral print silk dress in shades of blue and grey, a blue wool crepe coat and a white hat with blue trim.
Nine-year-old Aduke Bandele, who is of British, Jamaican, Nigerian and Trinidadian heritage, presented Her Majesty with flowers.
She said she thought the Queen’s outfit was lovely and it was an honour to present the gift – something that she would remember for the rest of her life.
Celebrating the unique bond and heritage of the Commonwealth was classical singer Laura Wright, who serenaded the Queen and the gathering of Commonwealth leaders with a specially composed song, 'Stronger As One'.
Ms Wright said: “Today’s event is a lovely way to round up the Diamond Jubilee celebrations because the Queen feels passionate about the Commonwealth.
“This is the highlight of everything I’ve done over the celebrations because it’s so intimate a gathering. It’s so exciting to have the Queen here and to see her reaction.”
The Commonwealth Youth Orchestra performed The Commonwealth Anthem and other celebratory music during the day.
In a tribute to the Queen for her sterling stewardship of the Commonwealth and her steadfast commitment to the association of independent states and their territories, leaders presented Her Majesty with a commemorative plaque.
The circular cast bronze plaque measures five feet in diameter and bears the inscription: 'Offered with profound admiration and abiding appreciation for the manner in which Her Majesty has diligently and faithfully served the Commonwealth and advanced its values of democracy, development and respect for diversity through six decades, as both the Head and heart of the Commonwealth family, evoking deep respect and affection from Commonwealth citizens around the globe.'
The plaque is embedded in the gardens of Marlborough House.
Note to Editors:
Commonwealth leaders who attended the Diamond Jubilee Luncheon were:
David Cameron, British Prime Minister
Philemon Yang, Prime Minister of Cameroon
Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada
Joyce Banda, President of Malawi
Dr Mohamed Waheed, President of Maldives
Dr Lawrence Gonzi, Prime Minister of Malta
Dr Navinchandra Ramgoolam, Prime Minister of Mauritius
Hifikepunye Pohamba, President of Namibia
John Key, Prime Minister of New Zealand
Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of Sri Lanka
Dr Denzil L Douglas, Prime Minister of St Kitts and Nevis
Michael Sata, President of Zambia
Video footage will be available at http://comseccpad.livedrive.com/
Contact: Richard Uku, Director and Spokesperson, Communications and Public Affairs Division, Commonwealth Secretariat, tel: +44 7711 187 784, email: email@example.com
Thank You for sharing this video with us. Would have loved to been there. ! Frances
Hi There I just want to thank you guys for keep us all over the world informed especially as a citizen of the Commonwealth.
Informative report on an event not widely reported. The Commonwealth is important and the Queen has made a huge contribution to making it possible.