Each year over 800 UK school children and young people attend the Commonwealth Service. Over the last few years the Royal Commonwealth Society and Westminster Abbey Education have worked together to facilitate the attendance of students from all four home nations of the United Kingdom.

In 2019, a number of schools from Northern Ireland were invited to attend. Abigail Gracey and Hope Collins, year 9 students from Killicomaine Junior High School, Portadown, Northern Ireland answer some questions about their trip to London to attend the Service.  

The Commonwealth Service has made us realise how lucky we are to be part of such a beautiful diverse community.

How did you feel when you knew you would be travelling to London to attend? 

When we knew we were going to be travelling to London we felt privileged because we were being given a once in a lifetime opportunity.  We also felt excited about travelling to London because we were going to be in the presence of the Royal Family and were going to see some famous landmarks.  A part of us also felt nervous as we wanted to be good representatives for our school.

Tell us a little bit about the day, what did you do?

After we landed in Stansted, we travelled by the Stansted Express to London where we went on the underground to the centre of London.  We then did some sightseeing and got to see Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, Parliament Buildings, Big Ben, 10 Downing Street and the changing of the guards. We took many photos so that we can look back and remember it all.  We then walked to Westminster Abbey where we had a guided tour and were given our lunch. We then were seated for the service and waited in anticipation for the Royal Family to arrive.

What was your favourite part of the Service?

We both agree that we enjoyed all of the Service, but our favourite performance was when the B Positive Choir sang Rise Up.  We had watched them on Britain’s Got Talent and felt really privileged to watch them perform live. Our favourite part of the Service was at the beginning when the Royal Family entered because they were so close to us and it felt surreal. We also felt nervous but enjoyed having a little conversation with Theresa May!

What did you learn about the Commonwealth? 

We learnt about diversity and that there are many countries that benefit from the Commonwealth. We learnt that many countries like to express their traditions through clothing, dance and music. The Commonwealth Service has made us realise how lucky we are to be part of such a beautiful diverse community.



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