Queen declares Games open

Queen declares Games open

The Queen read her message, which has travelled the Commonwealth in the baton

Sir Chris Hoy took the baton up to the Royal Box within Celtic Park

Team Scotland emerged into the arena to massive cheers

First published in National News © by

The Queen has formally declared the 20th Commonwealth Games open following a colourful ceremony at Glasgow's Celtic Park.

The head of the Commonwealth spoke of the "bonds that unite" the 71 nations and territories when she delivered her message which has travelled the world inside the Games baton.

There was a brief moment of embarrassment when the baton containing the Queen's message refused to open for Prince Imran of Malaysia, the president of the Commonwealth Games Federation, to release the manuscript. But Sir Chris Hoy, who had carried the baton to the prince, instinctively came to the rescue.

There were then loud cheers and applause as the Queen declared the competition open.

The baton was brought into the arena by a young girl who, in an earlier clip promoting the work of Unicef, stressed the importance of access to education for all Commonwealth children.

Grassroots volunteers from the world of sport then passed the baton to one another, and an emotional Sir Chris was given the honour of delivering it to the Royal Box.

The cycling legend received the baton from his 97-year-old great uncle Andy Coogan, who he credits with encouraging him to get involved in the sport.

Having handed the baton to Prince Imran, Sir Chris then stepped in to help when he had difficulty releasing the message.

The Queen said: "The baton relay represents a calling together of people from every part of the Commonwealth and serves as a reminder of our shared ideals and ambitions as a diverse, resourceful and cohesive family.

''And now, that baton has arrived here in Glasgow, a city renowned for its dynamic cultural and sporting achievements and for the warmth of its people, for this opening ceremony of the Friendly Games.''

She added: "To you, the Commonwealth athletes, I send my good wishes for success in your endeavours. Your accomplishments over the coming days will encourage us all to strengthen the bonds that unite us. You remind us that young people, those under 25 years of age, make up half of our Commonwealth citizens; and it is to you that we entrust our values and our future."

The ceremony was brought to a close to the sound of Primal Scream's Movin' On Up and a spectacular fireworks display.


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