History of the Queen’s Baton Relay

queens baton relay 2017

The Queen’s Baton relay began in Wales in 1958 when Cardiff hosted the Commonwealth Games. The Baton was decorated in the middle with an enamelled dragon in red surrounded by two leeks and a crown, also engraved decoration of daffodils and leeks forming a chain motif.

It is now a Games tradition and celebrates the Commonwealth’s diversity whilst inspiring community pride and highlighting sport’s ability to join people of all races, genders and age.

The Baton carries a message from the Queen herself and the relay starts at Buckingham Palace on Commonwealth Day (the second Monday in March). The Baton travels the world until it reaches the city of the Games ready for the Opening Ceremony. Here, the message from the Queen will be read out and signify the beginning of the Commonwealth Games. The Queen’s message in the 1958 Baton wished the athletes a successful competition and was carried from Buckingham Palace to Cardiff Arms Park by a relay of runners before the Games began. In 2017, the Baton travelled to so many places. On day 1 the Baton visited Swansea, Bridgend, Barry Island and Cardiff. From there it went to Newport, Monmouth School, The Royal Mint and Pontypridd. After that, the Baton travelled to Brecon, Rhayader, Llanidloes High School and Primary School, Ysgol Dafydd Llwyd, Welshpool, Theatr Clwyd. On its final day in Wales, the Baton visited Zip World, Yr Ysgwrn, Dolgellau, Portmeirion, Porthmadog, Pwllheli.

Melbourne hosted the 2006 Commonwealth Games and was the first time that the baton visited every nation in the Commonwealth before reaching Australia for the Opening Ceremony. It now visits every nation before every Games!

2017 showcased the longest and most accessible relay yet with the Baton travelling over 230,000 kilometres for 388 days. Over 3,800 batonbearers carried the Baton in Australia alone!

There is a new Baton at every Commonwealth Games. This Baton gets designed by the country hosting the Games. The 2018 Gold Coast Baton was bright and colourful which signified the boundless energy of the people, place and spirit of the Gold Coast. It also sent a strong environmental message as the Baton was made of materials that were locally sourced and sustainable – with reclaimed plastic from the ocean and macadamia wood which is native to the Gold Coast.

Unlike the Olympic torch, of which there are many, there is only one Queen’s Baton that gets passed around hundreds of thousands of people around the world. The baton has travelled further and been in the hands of many more people than the Olympic torch to date.