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.
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.
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.
It is a particular privilege to be here at such an auspicious time and to be able to play my part in acknowledging this historic moment for Japan, as you begin a new Imperial era with the Enthronement of His Majesty Emperor Naruhito. That this major national event – which, if I may say so, has been quite brilliantly organised – should be taking place in the midst of the Rugby World Cup is, it seems to me, a rather remarkable testament to Japanese organisational prowess – as well as being rather serendipitous for those of us who wanted to wish our teams well!
What is wonderful about Oscar is that his plays, his poetry, and his personality have all stood the test of time. As we reach his 165th birthday we continue to be moved by his work and by his own story, and by the essence of his philosophy. As he put it in De Profundis: “With freedom, books, flowers, and the moon, who could not be happy?”
The work you do is utterly essential. Its very nature means that your achievements are rarely made public, and that few people in this country will ever know just how great a debt we all owe you. But for those of us privileged enough to understand something of what you do, the difference you make to our security, our prosperity and to the defence of our values, is both clear and of the utmost importance.