Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has set the Gold Coast 2018 Queen’s Baton Relay in motion following a star-studded commencement ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
As part of Commonwealth Day celebrations, The Queen, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh and Prince Edward, The Earl of Wessex, placed her message to the Commonwealth and its athletes inside the distinctive Baton.
Australian Paralympic champion Kurt Fearnley OAM delivered the Queen’s Baton from Marlborough House along The Mall 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.
In a Games first, Yugambeh Elders Patricia O’Connor and Ted Williams accompanied Her Majesty in the ceremonial party along with Commonwealth Games Federation President Louise Martin CBE and Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation Chairman Peter Beattie AC.
Commonwealth and Olympic Games champion Anna Meares OAM was honoured with being the first person to receive the Baton from The Queen.
The GC2018 ambassador took the Queen’s Baton through the Palace Gates and in a moment that was symbolic of the Commonwealth’s long-held belief that friendly competition helps build lasting friendships and strong communities, passed the Baton to longtime rival and arguably England’s most successful track cyclist Victoria Pendleton CBE.
Receiving the Queen’s Baton from Her Majesty was an experience that will be hard to top. It was a privilege to be able to share the moment with my long-time friend and fellow competitor Victoria Pendleton.
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 longest ever Relay.
The ceremony was capped off in classic Aussie 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, the Gold Coast, Australia.
It's great to see the international spotlight turned on the Gold Coast for the Games. It’s my home town and I know it’s a world-class playground for people who dig sports, music, being social and active. It offers something for everybody.
Earlier in the ceremony Simpson endeared the international guest list with a stirring acoustic rendition of ‘I Still Call Australia Home’ before the audience was treated to an original performance by Sydney artist Lucy Mason.
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. Follow the Baton’s remarkable global journey here.
Nominations are now open for everyday Australians to carry the spirit of the Games as batonbearers for the Queen’s Baton Relay. Across Australia 3,800 batonbearers will share the dream of the ‘friendly Games’ as part of the longest and most accessible Relay in history. Batonbearer nominations are open until 15 May 2017. Nominate a community champion who inspires you to be great here.