Your Serene Royal Highness Prince Tungi, Lady Tu’ivakano, Minister for Internal Affairs and Sport Lord Vaea, Chef de Mission, Secretary General, Members of the Clergy, Diplomatic Colleagues, Distinguished Guests,
On behalf of the British High Commission, it is a privilege to join you in welcoming the Queen’s Baton Relay to Tonga.
When Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth launched the Glasgow 2014 Queens Baton Relay at Buckingham Palace on 9 October, it began a historic journey round the 71 nations and territories of the Commonwealth, calling the 4500 athletes to Glasgow for the 20th Commonwealth Games. The next two days will see the Baton being taken to the western and eastern districts of Tongatapu. As it travels around Tonga, it will bring with it a little of the excitement of the Games and the magic of the Queen’s message – illuminated at the core of the Baton but unreadable until the Opening Ceremony.
The Queen’s Baton Relay is HM Queen Elizabeth’s reminder to the Commonwealth Family of her commitment to her role as Head of the Commonwealth – a commitment that is shared by HRH The Prince of Wales who attended the recent Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting on HM Queen Elizabeth’s behalf.
The Relay is a unique tradition of the Games that unites the two billion citizens of the Commonwealth in a celebration of sport, diversity and peace. As it makes its way through Tonga, I hope that the Baton will symbolically connect communities in our two Kingdoms, Tonga and the UK, bringing together two proud members of the Commonwealth family, two islands distant in geography but close in friendship.
I wish the baton every success in its journey through Tonga.