Commonwealth Day 2022 on TV: BBC coverage celebrating the Commonwealth of Nations and what it is - explained

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The Queen will not attend the service at Westminster Abbey this year, and will be represented by Prince Charles.

Commonwealth Day will be celebrated on 14 March, with BBC One providing coverage of the event.

Here is everything you need to know about Commonwealth Day 2022- from what it is to how to watch on TV.

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What is Commonwealth Day?

Commonwealth Day is an annual celebration of the Commonwealth of Nations, known as the Commonwealth, a group of more than 50 states, most of which are former territories of the British Empire.

The celebration, renamed from Empire Day in the middle of the last century, is held on the second Monday in March every year.

Empire Day was first celebrated in 1904 and aimed to instil collective identity and responsibility in citizens of what was then the British Empire.

In the UK, the day is traditionally celebrated by the Queen and Royal family attending a service at Westminster Abbey.

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The Union Flag will fly from public buildings in the UK, while the Scottish Parliament will fly the Commonwealth flag.

A wreath is laid at London’s Commonwealth Memorial Gates in recognition of the sacrifices of Commonwealth soldiers in conflict.

Hundreds of thousands of Commonwealth soldiers died fighting in the First and Second World Wars on behalf of the British Empire.

What is the Commonwealth?

The Commonwealth was established following the decolonisation of the British Empire in the 20th century as several territories gained independence or achieved greater autonomy.

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Now, the Commonwealth consists of 54 member states, offering mutual support in development and upholding democratic values.

The Queen is the head of the Commonwealth, but not all Commonwealth nations have the Queen as their head of state.

In fact, 34 of the 54 member states are republics, with Barbados becoming world’s newest republic in December last year.

How are BBC One celebrating Commonwealth Day?

BBC One will air a special programme, called A Celebration for Commonwealth Day, covering the event live from Westminster Abbey.

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The programme will be presented by BBC News Irish correspondent Fergal Keane, and journalist and newsreader Reeta Chakrabarti.

This year’s celebrations will also mark the Queen’s platinum jubilee and her 70th year as head of the Commonwealth.

The programme will last one hour and feature readings, poetry and music.

Read All About It singer Emeli Sandé will perform, and Rt Rev Lord Sentamu will read a reflection.

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The Queen will not attend the annual Commonwealth Day service with senior royals and instead be represented by the Prince of Wales.The Queen will not attend the annual Commonwealth Day service with senior royals and instead be represented by the Prince of Wales.
The Queen will not attend the annual Commonwealth Day service with senior royals and instead be represented by the Prince of Wales. | Getty Images

Will the Queen attend Commonwealth Day?

The Queen will not attend the service at Westminster Abbey this year and will be represented by Prince Charles.

Her absence is believed to be due to ongoing mobility issues - whereas previous engagements such as meeting Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took place at Windsor Castle - this event would require the 95-year-old monarch to travel.

Prince Harry has also said that he will not attend the celebration because he has concerns over his security.

Since stepping down as a senior royal, Prince Harry is no longer able to access the same police protection in the UK as other members of his family, and must instead rely on his own private security.

How can I watch A Celebration for Commonwealth Day?

The programme will air live at 2pm on 14 March on BBC One.

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It will be available to watch on BBC iPlayer shortly after it is broadcast.

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