HMS Queen Elizabeth: Royal Navy carrier's crew celebrate Commonwealth Day as ‘one ship'

HMS Queen Elizabeth’s crew has celebrated Commonwealth Day as ‘one ship’.

Monday, 11th March 2019, 4:44 pm
Updated Monday, 11th March 2019, 5:50 pm
An emergency drill was carried out in HMS Queen Elizabeth yesterday. Picture: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

The Royal Navy’s £3.1bn aircraft carrier's ships company has representations from 'more than 15 Commonwealth nations’. 

In a video released on the navy's official Twitter page today, crew members from across the Commonwealth celebrate how they are ‘one crew, who eat, serve and laugh together’ on HMS Queen Elizabeth. 

The Royal Navy tweeted: ‘Many uniforms, one ship, one Commonwealth: we are @HMSQNLZ.’ 

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An emergency drill was carried out in HMS Queen Elizabeth yesterday. Picture: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

HMS Queen Elizabeth is currently docked at HMNB Portsmouth following her deployment to the US for F-35 flight tests in 2018. 

What is Commonwealth Day? 

Traditionally celebrated on the second Monday in March, it replaced the old Empire Day celebrations. 

Following the death of Queen Victoria on January 22, 1901, her birthday, May 24, was celebrated as Empire Day. 

However after the end of the British Empire, this celebration was replaced with Commonwealth Day which celebrates the common bonds of the roughly billion people who live in the Commonwealth. 

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In Britain, the Queen along with the Commonwealth Secretary-General and Commonwealth High Commissioners in London will attend a service at Westminister Abbey. 

She also gives an address to the Commonwealth, similar to the Christmas Day message, which is broadcast around the world. 

How many nations are in the Commonwealth? 

There are 53 members of the Commonwealth ranging from Australia, Canada and New Zealand to India and Nigeria. 

Tuvalu, a Polynesian island country, is the smallest member with a population of just 10,000 people. 

The values of the Commonwealth are enshrined in the Commonwealth Charter and member states have no legal obligations to each other. 

Every four years the members gather to participate in the Commonwealth Games – the next games are set to take place in 2022 in Birmingham. 

Is Commonwealth Day a public holiday? 

In Britain the celebration is not a bank holiday, however in places such as Gibraltor it is a public holiday. 

Before 1997, Commonwealth Day was a school holiday in Hong Kong.