Kate to join Queen and royal family to celebrate Commonwealth service

The Duchess of Cambridge, née Kate Middleton, will join members of the royal family for the annual Commonwealth Observance service on Monday 9 March. This will be one of Kate's last high-profile appearances, as she prepares to give birth to her and Prince William's second baby the following month.

Last year William and Kate were unable to attend the service in Westminster Abbey, as they were said to be enjoying a sunny break in the Maldives.

This year the royal couple have confirmed their attendance via Kensington Palace, and will join the Queen, Prince Philip, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall.


Prince William and Kate, who were absent at last year's service, will join the Queen and other members of the royal family at the service

As head of the Commonwealth, all eyes will be on the Queen as her Commonwealth Day Message is broadcast throughout the Abbey and later to all of the Commonwealth Nations. The theme of her speech this year is "A Young Commonwealth" – underlining the fact that people aged 29 or under account for the majority of the Commonwealth's population.

Last year's theme was "Team Commonwealth," and had the monarch to praising all 53 nations that make up the association, and talking about how the united community was "a powerful influence of good for the future".

The Queen, pictured at last year's service, has written her speech based on the theme "A Young Commonwealth"

Apart from the Queen's speech, the hour-long service, which is the biggest multi-faith celebration in the UK, will feature a mixture of testimonies, readings, hymns and musical performances.

The royal family will be joined by politicians, High Commissioners, Commonwealth dignitaries and also by over 1,000 schoolchildren – raising the grand total of attendees to 2,000 people.

After the service the royals will be presented with posies of flowers. The 88-year-old Queen will then lead her family to walk by the Commonwealth Flags, which will be held up by invited children.

Kate will be starting maternity leave some time in March

The second week in March is shaping up to be a busy one for Kate as she has two engagements planned on the Wednesday. The pregnant Duchess will travel to Margate in Kent where she will first visit the Turner Contemporary art gallery to view a special exhibition titled Self: Image and Identity.

Kate, who has a degree in history of art from St Andrews University, will then visit Resort Studios to meet local artists and view photomontages. Prince George's mum is expected to start maternity leave soon after, as her second baby is due in April.

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