The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall travelled to Birmingham on Thursday night to attend the opening ceremony of the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
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Charles was representing his mother the Queen, who is not attending the Games due to her ongoing mobility issues, Buckingham Palace previously announced.
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The Prince arrived in style
At the opening ceremony, the Prince read the Queen's message for the Games, which she placed into the Commonwealth Games Baton back in October 2021 and which has travelled the globe during a 294-day journey to all 72 nations and territories of the Commonwealth.
Addressing the crowd on behalf of the Queen, Charles said: "On October 7 last year, this specially created Baton left Buckingham Palace to travel across the Commonwealth. Over the past 294 days, it has carried not only my message to you, but also the shared hopes and dreams of each nation and territory through which it has passed, as it made its way to Birmingham.
"Over the years, the coming together of so many for the ‘Friendly Games’ has created memorable shared experiences, established long standing relationships, and even created some friendly rivalries. But above all they remind us of our connection with one another, wherever we may be in the world, as part of the Commonwealth family of nations."
Charles continued: "Tonight, in the words of the founder of the Games, we embark once again on a novel adventure here in Birmingham, a pioneering city which has drawn in and embraced so many throughout its history. It is a city symbolic of the rich diversity and unity of the Commonwealth, and one which now welcomes you all in friendship.
"I wish each athlete and team every success. Your hard work and dedication, particularly in recent times, have been an inspiration to all of us. It now gives me the greatest pleasure to declare the 22nd Commonwealth Games open."
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The Earl and Countess of Wessex also made an appearance at the opening ceremony.
Prince Edward and Sophie Wessex attended the event
Prince Edward, who is vice-patron of the Commonwealth Games Federation, released a message ahead of the event's opening ceremony, saying in part: "The Games are more than just about sport, they are the greatest manifestation of the Commonwealth: our extraordinary collection of countries linked together through a myriad of bonds of common interests and relationships.
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"The parallel arts festival is an integral part of this celebration and reminds us of our shared values and the tremendous talent that exists across our family of nations.
Charles and Sophie have a close bond
"The stage is now set and the show is about to begin. To everyone involved in the production, whether behind the scenes or front-of-house: thank you, good luck and enjoy yourselves. I know from all your preparations that you want to make Birmingham 2022 a brilliant and memorable experience."
Commonwealth Games medal winners Tom Daley OBE, Kim Daybell, Max Whitlock MBE, Galal Yafai, and Alex Danson-Bennett MBE were official baton bearers at the opening ceremony, which was broadcast on BBC One.
Each of the athletes taking part represented a cause close to their hearts. Diver Tom showed his support of LGBTQIA rights, while Max backed mental health.
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The Games will run until Monday 8 August and promise to be the biggest sporting festival in the UK since the London Olympics a decade ago. Over the next 11 days, more than 5,000 athletes from 72 nations will compete in 280 events across 19 sports.
Members of the royal family will be out in force to attend the Games, including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Princess Anne.
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