The Queen has officially launched the Queen's Baton Relay for next year's Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast at a ceremony here today.
Joined by her husband Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, and their son Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex, The Queen placed a special message into the Baton which will be read out at the Games’ Opening Ceremony on April 4 next year.
The ceremony was held on the forecourt of Buckingham Palace to coincide with Commonwealth Day, which this year has the theme "A peace building Commonwealth".
Triple Australian Paralympic gold medallist and Gold Coast 2018 ambassador Kurt Fearnley delivered the Baton to Buckingham Palace, as well as sunshine more commonly associated with his nation than England.
The wheelchair racer was escorted up The Mall and into the Palace forecourt by the Band of the Scots Guard, their arrival preceding the entrance of the Royal Family.
The Queen was accompanied by Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) President Louise Martin, Gold Coast 2018 chairman Peter Beattie and elders from the Yugambeh people.
"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," said Martin.
"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."