Entries will be disqualified if they fail to meet any of the following requirements:

  1. The competition is open to nationals or residents of all Commonwealth countries and territories, as well as residents of Hong Kong and Zimbabwe. Residents of non-Commonwealth countries whose entries are submitted through their local RCS branch are also eligible. 
  1. Entrants must select a Senior or Junior topic depending on their age on 30 June 2021. Senior entrants must be born between 1 July 2002 and 30 June 2007 (14-18 years) and Junior entrants must be born after 1 July 2007 (under 14 years of age). 
  1. The maximum word counts are 1,500 words for Senior entries and 750 words for Junior entries. There is no minimum word count. These word limits apply to all topics and all formats (essay, poem, letter, etc). Exceeding the word count will result in automatic disqualification. References and foot notes are not included in the word count. 
  1. Entries must be written in English. 
  1. Only one entry per participant will be accepted. Please carefully check and edit your writing before submitting the final copy, and also ensure that all supplementary information is filled in correctly (name, contact details, topic number, etc.) 
  1. Plagiarism is not accepted in the competition. Every year a number of students are disqualified because they are suspected of plagiarism. Please see our guide to plagiarism before submitting. 
  1. Final documents should not include the entrants personal details including name, age, school or country. This information should be inputted to the system upon entry. 
  1. The final copy submitted for the competition must be the entrant's own work, and cannot be excessively corrected or improved by another person. This does not rule out input or assistance from others but does exclude group entries.  
  1. By entering the competition, you agree that your personal details  including  full  name,  gender, email, school and essay may be sent to your local RCS branch and any Essay Competition partners. See our Privacy Policy for more information. Please note: Winners and Runners-up of the pan­ Commonwealth competition will have their full names, schools, essays  and photographs  displayed on the RCS website and social media channels.  
  1. Essays can only be uploaded as a Microsoft Word document (.doc or .docx) or in PDF format (.pdf). The online platform does not accept Google Docs (.gdoc), Pages documents (.pages) or other word processor formats. Note: if we are unable to find or open your essay file (either through an incorrect format or upload error), your entry may not be counted in the competition. 
  1. All entries must be written on and relevant to one of the listed topics in the relevant age category. 
  1. All online entries must be submitted before 5pm (GMT) on 30th  June  2021; any offline  entries must arrive at the RCS offices in London by 30th May 2021 or they will not be counted.  
  1. All entrants retain the copyright rights that they have for the pieces they submit, but by entering The Queen's Commonwealth Essay Competition, each contestant consents to the use of his/her name, and/or pieces or parts thereof in any advertisements, educational materials, corpus research or media and publicity carried out or produced by the Royal Commonwealth Society and its local branches without further notice or compensation. The Royal Commonwealth Society can publish or decline to publish; use or decline to use, any submitted pieces at the Royal Commonwealth Society's sole discretion. 
  1. The RCS retains the right to change the prize of the competition if circumstances make this necessary. 
  1. The RCS will only be able to publish on our website and in our literature content that is appropriate for a wide and diverse audience, in line with our own policies. Entrants are encouraged to consider this in relation to their use of language when entering the competition. 

Important Reminder

All certificates are generated online and the RCS does not send any certificates in the post. You will be able to view your submission and certificate on your online dashboard, visible when you log in. Certificates will only be available to download once judging is complete in September 2021.

Having trouble submitting your essay? Contact [email protected]