The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge came out to support the Queen at the annual Commonwealth service at Westminster Abbey on Monday (Mar. 14). Prince Philip and Prince Andrew were among the royals who joined William, Kate and Prince Harry, who sets off for his tour of Nepal this weekend.
The royals were gathering to celebrate the service that is traditionally held on the second Monday of March every year, to recognise the 53 countries and its people that make up the Commonwealth.
Wearing a grey Erdem coat and a John Boyd hat, Kate, 34, looked impeccably smart as she arrived with her husband. The couple had left their children Prince George and Princess Charlotte at home while they carried out the engagement.
As head of the Commonwealth, all eyes were naturally on the Queen. Her Commonwealth Day Message was broadcast throughout the Abbey and later to all of the Commonwealth Nations. The theme of her speech this year was "An Inclusive Commonwealth" – underlining the diversity of the Commonwealth, which is made up of more than two billion people.
In her pre-recorded speech, the Queen noted: "We can always benefit from being open to the ideas and encouragement of those around us." The monarch, who turns 90 next month, said that an essential ingredient of belonging to the Commonwealth was "the willingness to share, to exchange and to act for the common good".
"By including others, drawing on collective insights, knowledge and resources, and thinking and working together, we lay the foundations of a harmonious and progressive society," she added.
Apart from the Queen's speech, the hour-long service, which is the biggest multi-faith celebration in the UK, featured a mixture of testimonies, readings, hymns and musical performances.
This year Prince Harry's good friend Ellie Goulding, who performed at William and Kate's wedding in 2011, lent her voice to the ceremony and sang Fields of Gold. Former UN secretary general Kofi Annan also gave a speech.
Among the guests in attendance were politicians including Prime Minister David Cameron and Nigel Farage, High Commissioners and Commonwealth dignitaries.
After the service the Queen will lead her family to walk by the Commonwealth Flags, where well-wishers will present them with bunches of flowers. William, Kate and Harry will then attend a reception in the Dean's Yard and later the Queen and Prince Philip will attend an evening reception at Marlborough House.
Prince Charles and his wife the Duchess of Cornwall did not attend Monday's service, as they are on a five-day tour of the Western Balkans, visiting Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo.