FLAGS have been raised around the Portsmouth area to mark Commonwealth day.
The annual celebration gives communities to chance to show their commitment to the Commonwealth and the values it stands for.
Councillor Donna Jones, leader of Portsmouth City Council, spoke at a ceremony in Guildhall Square today, and read a message from the Queen before the Commonwealth flag was raised.
She said: ‘Portsmouth is one of 25 key cities in the UK, and also being home to the Royal Navy, it’s important for us to celebrate the Commonwealth.
‘Ships from the navy will often visit Commonwealth member countries so it’s an important link to recognise.
‘The flag raising ceremony is a positive way for Portsmouth to celebrate our part in an international family.’
The ceremony was also attended by the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Cllr Steven Wylie, representatives from some of the Commonwealth countries, councillors, and schoolchildren.
Borough councils around the area also joined in the celebrations, and Cllr Marjorie Smallcorn, mayor of Havant, raised the flag at a ceremony outside the town’s council offices.
‘I am delighted to have raised the flag over Havant to honour the Commonwealth,’ she said.
‘This is a very meaningful way to demonstrate our togetherness, not just across the borough, or across the country, but across the 53 nations of the Commonwealth.’
Fareham Borough Council raised a flag outside the town’s civic offices, and Gosport Borough Council did the same in The Falkland Gardens.
Commonwealth flags are being flown at locations of special significance across the UK, including its four capital cities and the most eastern, western, northern and southern points.
The Commonwealth’s furthest flung outposts have also taken part, including the Rothera Research Station on the Antarctic Peninsula, the Halley VI Research Station on the Brunt Ice Shelf, and King Edward Point and Bird Island in South Georgia.