Over the past 150 years the Royal Commonwealth Society has done so much to promote, both the value, and the values of the modern Commonwealth. You have championed human rights, democracy and sustainable development over 53 member states. You have much of which to be justly proud.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As the first Vice Patron of the Royal Commonwealth Society I’m delighted, and honoured, to join you all this evening to celebrate this significant milestone.

Over the past 150 years the Royal Commonwealth Society has done so much to promote, both the value, and the values of the modern Commonwealth.  You have championed human rights, democracy and sustainable development over 53 member states.  You have much of which to be justly proud.

I particularly wanted to mention The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition, the oldest international writing competition for schools founded back in 1883.  As a passionate advocate of literacy across the globe, I am proud to host the prize giving each year on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen.  It is a great privilege to meet some of its hugely talented participants, and I very much look forward to seeing this year’s winners at Buckingham Palace in November.

Now so far I have travelled to 18 Commonwealth countries which, I know, leaves me a few more to go. But, in a couple of weeks The Prince of Wales and myself will be visiting three more – The Gambia, Ghana and Nigeria to highlight the importance of our Commonwealth ties.

Now, Ladies and Gentleman, as you all know we share a common history, common values and a common language; so as the Royal Commonwealth Society continues its tireless work to improve the lives and prospects of its citizens I look forward, as your newly appointed Vice Patron, to working with you – but perhaps not for the next 150 years!