It is a great delight to welcome you this evening to Buckingham Palace, as the festival of Chanukah approaches, and to celebrate with you the contribution of our Jewish community to the health, wealth and happiness of the United Kingdom.

In this shared endeavour, it is my dearest wish that The Solomon Islands might become a beacon – in this region and across the Commonwealth as a whole - showing how extraordinary natural capital can be harnessed sustainably to guarantee the prosperity and security of future generations.

Although I have only been here a short time, it is already clear to me why these islands are known, the world over, as the Happy Isles. 

We stand at the threshold of a global transformation with the potential to secure a prosperous and sustainable future for us all.  But can we cross that threshold quickly enough?  That is the defining challenge of this most critical of times.

Now, as the proud Vice-Patron of the Royal Commonwealth Society, I am particularly delighted to launch The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay for 2020 in this lovely city of Christchurch.

I wanted to thank all of you for being here today and for offering your support to this project in so many ways. This is just the beginning, of course, and a great deal of hard work lies ahead.  I can only say how proud I am to be joining you all on this journey, and how much I look forward to the day, if I am still alive by then, when the cathedral bells ring out once more.

I can only thank you once again for making us both so welcome here today. It was of great importance to us that we should come to Waitangi, to this place of such great meaning, where the peoples of Aotearoa New Zealand committed to walk into the future together.

I am enormously proud of the profound difference this investment can make in a young person’s life and of course how it can actually set them on a fundamentally better course for their future.

I am delighted to be helping to spread the word, and I am even more delighted that so many young people from across the Commonwealth are rising to the challenge of writing the word!

As the proud daughter of a highly decorated World War II Cavalry Officer, I salute this wholehearted focus on the soldier that has carried you through the past 75 years.The Charity’s central purpose and relevance have not changed over the passage of time: you continue to work to allow soldiers, veterans and their immediate families to live lives of independence and dignity, now and in the future.