Her Majesty The Queen Launches Queen’s Baton

Her Majesty The Queen launches Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton on record long global journey

OTTAWA – Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has set the Gold Coast 2018 Queen’s Baton Relay in motion during a star-studded commencement ceremony today at Buckingham Palace as part of Commonwealth Day celebrations. Accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh and Prince Edward The Earl of Wessex, The Queen placed her message to the Commonwealth and its athletes inside the distinctive Baton. The Queen’s Baton will now travel through the entire Commonwealth for 388 days, covering 230,000 kilometres to its final destination, the Opening Ceremony of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC2018) on 4 April 2018.

Australian Paralympic champion Kurt Fearnley OAM delivered the Queen’s Baton starting from Marlborough House up The Mall and into the Palace Forecourt, accompanied by the eminent Band of the Scots Guards, who played by permission of Major General BJ Bathurst CBE, The Major General Commanding The Household Division. Louise Martin CBE President of the Commonwealth Games Federation, Peter Beattie AC Chairman of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC) and Yugambeh Elders Patricia O’Connor and Ted Williams accompanied Her Majesty in the ceremonial party. Emily Dean, a nine-year-old middle distance runner from Southport, England, had the remarkable role of holding the message for Her Majesty before it was placed into the Baton.  Emily was identified through the Adopt-a-Commonwealth Country program, part of GOLDOC’s international Schools Connect initiative. For the first time at a commencement ceremony at Buckingham Palace, representatives of the Traditional Custodians of the land where the Commonwealth Games will be held, the Yugambeh Language Group People, delivered a moving invitation to all First Nations peoples of the Commonwealth to join in the celebrations of the Games on Yugambeh land. The invitation reaffirmed the Commonwealth’s 2017 theme of ‘A Peace-building Commonwealth’.

Australian cycling legend and Commonwealth and Olympic Games gold medallist, Anna Meares OAM, was honored with being the first person to receive the Baton from The Queen after her message was placed safely within. The recently retired champion and GC2018 Ambassador took the Queen’s Baton through the Palace Gates to longtime rival and arguably England’s most successful track cyclist Victoria Pendleton CBE, in a moment that was symbolic of the Commonwealth’s long-held belief that friendly competition helps build lasting friendships and strong communities. Together the star cyclists carried the Baton around the Queen Victoria Memorial, sharing the excitement with the public who were gathered to witness the start of the historic Relay. The ceremony was capped off in classic Australian style when the Baton departed the Palace in the hands of world-renowned Gold Coast singer and environmental champion Cody Simpson aboard a Kombi van loaded with surfboards as a nod to the Baton’s final destination, Gold Coast, Australia. Earlier in the ceremony Cody endeared the international guest list with a stirring acoustic rendition of ‘I Still Call Australia Home’.  The audience was also treated to an original performance by Sydney artist Lucy Mason. Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill DBE played a special role in the Commonwealth Day celebrations, taking the Baton down the aisle at the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey.

The Queen’s Baton will take flight on 15 March to Sierra Leone, the first stop on the 288-day international journey to all nations and territories of the Commonwealth. With a celebratory nod to the past, and an eye to the future, the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton will visit the 4 Canadian cities having had the honor of hosting the Commonwealth Games – Hamilton (July 28), Edmonton (July 29), Victoria (July 31) and Vancouver (August 1). The Baton will arrive back in Australia and start its Australian journey on 25 December 2017. It will visit every state and territory across the country for 100 days.

Commonwealth Games Federation President Louise Martin CBE:

“Launching the Queen’s Baton Relay on Commonwealth Day at Buckingham Palace is a fitting start to an inclusive and inspiring community relay that connects our diverse Commonwealth in celebration and anticipation of the next Games. We passionately believe that friendly rivalry on the level playing field of sport can be a tool for building strong and peaceful communities and this has never been more relevant, as the Relay launch heralds the start of the Commonwealth family’s themed year of a peace-building Commonwealth. Her Majesty's message to the Commonwealth and its athletes, carried safely inside the Baton, will be in great hands with many thousands of community batonbearers. I look forward to following its remarkable journey and hearing the stories of all the athletes, communities and citizens involved.”

GOLDOC Chairman Peter Beattie AC:

“Today’s ceremony was a moving start to what is going to be an inspiring journey. Our mission to share the dream of the Gold Coast 2018 Games with the world is now underway. This is a truly inclusive Relay and the Baton’s path through the Commonwealth will give children and people that can’t make it to the Gold Coast a chance to be involved in an unforgettable experience. By the time the Baton reaches Australia many thousands of people will already have been a part of its journey.”

For further information:

Commonwealth Games Canada
Brian MacPherson
Chief Executive Officer
613.244.6868 x226


Commonwealth Games Canada (CGC) is the franchise holder for the Commonwealth Games and Commonwealth movement in Canada, and an active, contributing member of the Canadian sport community. The mission of CGC is to strengthen sport within Canada and throughout the Commonwealth by participating in the Commonwealth Games and by using sport as a development tool. CGC builds a better Commonwealth through sport. Visit www.commonwealthgames.ca for information.