Tim P. Whitby/Getty
Erin Hill
March 13, 2017 09:29 AM

On Monday, Queen Elizabeth delivered a special message of peace and unity for Commonwealth Day, an annual celebration which honors the 52 countries that comprise the Commonwealth of Nations.

The 90-year-old monarch called upon the 2.5 billion citizens of the Commonwealth to continue to work together and “build peace by defending the dignity of every individual and community.”

She also launched the Queen’s Baton Relay, which kicks off Monday in London and will continue on a 388-day journey around the Commonwealth before it arrives at the opening ceremony of the Gold Coast Games next year on April 4, 2018.

Tim P. Whitby/Getty

The baton will also make an appearance at a service at Westminster Abbey, which will be attended by the Queen and Prince Philip, Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, and Princes Harry, Andrew and Edward.

“Over the next 12 months, the baton will visit people living in the nations and territories of our Commonwealth family in every continent and ocean,” the Queen’s message continued.

“Carried on its way by thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds, by the time it reaches its final destination, the Queen’s Baton will have brought together, through its route and symbolism, almost 2.5 billion people who share the special connection of being Commonwealth citizens.

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“Contained within the Baton will be a written message that will be opened and read at the Commonwealth Games in Australia next year. However, there is an even more powerful message to be seen and experienced as the Baton passes from hand to hand, from seashore to mountaintop, through cities, towns and villages. It is the message of a peace-building Commonwealth.”

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