The Commonwealth Games bring nations together every four years in a colourful celebration of sport and human performance featuring over 5,000 sports men and women from across 72 nations and territories.
Underpinned by the core values of humanity, equality and destiny, the Games, often referred to as the ‘Friendly Games’, aim to unite the Commonwealth family through a glorious festival of sport.
Her Majesty The Queen has been Patron of the Commonwealth Games Federation since 1952. However, this year The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall represented Her Majesty on the opening day in Birmingham, United Kingdom.
The Athletes Village
To commence the day’s engagements, The Prince of Wales visited the Athletes Village at The University of Birmingham, which will be home to 3,500 athletes and officials for the duration of the Games. During his tour of the Village, His Royal Highness met Games representatives, volunteers and 122 athletes from 61 teams, even taking time to pose for selfies with some of them.
Birmingham Festival, Victoria Square
His Royal Highness then travelled to Vitoria Square, Birmingham, one of a number of sites hosting the Birmingham Festival, a six-month celebration of arts, music, food and culture, that is set to attract 2.5 million people. Victoria Square will be showcasing over 150 of the region’s best musicians, with food and drink provided by some of Birmingham’s most exciting businesses, like Asha’s, an award-wining restaurant that has prepared dishes for Hollywood actor Tom Cruise. The Prince spent time meeting performers and the public, many of whom had travelled from around the world to enjoy the Games. The Festival Site also features artwork by Birmingham-based artist Anjuli McKenna, created with paint that doesn’t create any chemicals.
Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Opening Reception
The Prince of Wales, along with The Earl and Countess of Wessex and Dame Louise Martin, President of the Commonwealth Games, attended the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Opening Reception, where they met with visiting Heads of State and Government and with Presidents and Secretaries General from the various Commonwealth Games federations.
The final and main event of the day was the Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony, where The Prince of Wales, accompanied by The Duchess of Cornwall, represented Her Majesty The Queen.
The Prince and The Duchess entered the stadium in The Prince’s modified Aston Martin, which runs on a by-product of wine and cheese.
Their Royal Highnesses were joined by 72 other red, white and blue cars, linked to Birmingham's car industry, that formed the Union Jack flag. This was followed by the Red Arrows flying over the Alexander Stadium adding more even more red, white and blue colour to the event with their smoke trails.
Following a spectacle of dance, drama and music, including a large mechanical bull, along with the traditional athletes’ parade, the Baton arrived at the stadium. The Queen’s Baton Relay left Buckingham Palace on October 7th 2021, containing a message from Her Majesty inside it, and travelled to all corners of the Commonwealth.
"Tonight, in the words of the founder of the Games, we embark once again on a novel adventure here in Birmingham, a pioneering city which has drawn in and embraced so many throughout its history. It is a city symbolic of the rich diversity and unity of the Commonwealth, and one which now welcomes you all in friendship.”
The Prince of Wales read the message from The Queen and officially declared the Commonwealth Games ‘open’, commencing 11 days of competition that will see over 5,000 athletes from 72 nations compete in 280 events across 19 sports.