Queen's Baton Relay

The Queen's Baton Relay is a relay around the world held prior to the beginning of the Commonwealth Games. The Baton carries a message from the Head of the Commonwealth, currently Queen Elizabeth II. The Relay traditionally begins at Buckingham Palace in London as a part of the city's Commonwealth Day festivities. The Queen entrusts the baton to the first relay runner. At the Opening Ceremony of the Games, the final relay runner hands the baton back to the Queen or her representative, who reads the message aloud to officially open the Games.The Queen's Baton Relay is similar to the Olympic Torch Relay.[1]


The Relay was introduced at the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Cardiff, Wales. Up until, and including, the 1994 Games, the Relay only went through England and the host nation. The Relay for the 1998 Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia was the first to travel to other nations of the Commonwealth. The 2002 Commonwealth Games Relay covered over 100,000 kilometres and went through 23 nations.[1]


Queen's Baton Relay

for the

XIV Commonwealth GamesNew Zealand Auckland, New Zealand

For the 1990 Commonwealth Games, the baton was a two-piece affair. Each piece went on its own individual relay run in the North and South Islands of New Zealand, only being joined back together in the final week before the Games began.
Queen's Baton Relay

for the

XV Commonwealth GamesCanada Victoria, Canada

For the 1994 Commonwealth Games, the Baton was fashioned from sterling silver and was engraved with traditional symbols of the creative artists' families and cultures, including a wolf, a raven and an eagle with a frog in its mouth.
Queen's Baton Relay

for the

XVI Commonwealth GamesMalaysia Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

For the 1998 Commonwealth Games, Malaysia placed their own flavour on the Games, with the Queen's Baton being carried into the stadium on an elephant. It was the first ever baton to travel beyond England and the host nation. The baton was presented to Prince Edward by Malaysia's first ever Commonwealth medal winner Koh Eng Tong, a gold medallist in weightlifting in 1950. The Baton design was inspired by a traditional Malay artifact, the 'Gobek', which is a unique cylindrical areca nut-pounder widely used and displayed in Malay homes. The baton was produced by a local company, Mariwasa Kraftangan Sdn Bhd, using pure silver with gold trimming. It left the Buckingham palace on 9 March 1998.[2][3]

Queen's Baton Relay

for the

XVII Commonwealth GamesEngland Manchester, England

The 2002 Queen's Baton Relay (also known as Queen's Jubilee Baton Relay) was launched on Commonwealth Day, 11 March 2002, on the historic forecourt at Buckingham Palace. The baton traveled almost 59,000 miles via 23 commonwealth nations and territories over 87 days before opening the games on the 25 July 2002. Cadbury was the presenting partner of the relay and sponsor of the games.[4]

The Baton was designed by a company called IDEO and was constructed of machined aluminium with the handle plated for conductivity. It weighed 1.69 kg, reaches over 710 mm, and is 42.5 mm to 85 mm in diameter. The Queen’s message itself was held in an aluminium capsule inserted into the top of the Baton. On either side of the Baton were two sterling silver coins, designed by Mappin and Webb, which celebrated the City of Manchester as host of the XVII Commonwealth Games.[5]

Queen's Baton Relay

for the

XVIII Commonwealth GamesAustralia Melbourne, Australia

The 2006 Queen's Baton Relay was the world's longest, most inclusive relay, travelling more than 180,000 kilometres and visiting all 71 nations that then sent teams to the Commonwealth Games[a] in one year and a day. The Queen's Baton Relay started, as it traditionally does, at Buckingham Palace and ended in Melbourne, Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. It carried a message from the Queen to the Opening Ceremony of the Commonwealth Games. Fremantle Dockers Captain Matthew Pavlich carried the baton through Fremantle, he received the baton from community nominee and local businessman Peter Taliangis.

The baton contained 71 lights on the front, representing the 71 member nations of the Commonwealth Games Federation. A video camera built into the front of the baton recorded continuously as the baton travelled, and a GPS tracker was fitted, so that the baton's location could be viewed live on the Commonwealth Games Website. The front face of the baton contained the detachable Queen's Message Button. The Button is a digital storage device, onto which the Queen's Message to the Athletes of the XVIII Commonwealth Games was encoded.[6]

Queen's Baton Relay

for the

XIX Commonwealth GamesIndia Delhi, India

The 2010 Queen's Baton Relay began as the Baton left Buckingham Palace on 29 October 2009, travelling throughout the 70 nations of the Commonwealth, reaching India on 25 June 2010 by crossing through Wagah from Pakistan. When the baton relay began at Buckingham Palace, the then-President of India, Pratibha Patil, was present. The Final Baton Runner Sushil Kumar handed over the baton to Prince Charles, who with President Pratibha Patil inaugurated the games.[7]

The baton was designed by Michael Foley, a graduate of the National Institute of Design. Made from aluminium twisted into a helix, it was coated with soils from the various regions of India, and held the Queen's message (printed on an 18 carat gold leaf, representing gold's qualities and symbolism of power in India) within a jeweled box. The baton also incorporated a video camera and microphone, LED lighting (which set its color scheme to match the flag of the nation it was travelling through), and GPS tracking.

Queen's Baton Relay

for the

XX Commonwealth GamesScotland Glasgow, Scotland

The 2014 Queen's Baton Relay began its 190,000 km journey on 9 October 2013. The baton traveled via 70 nations and territories over 288 days before opening the games on the 23 July 2014. At the ceremony, 32 inspiring volunteers from across Scotland carried the baton around Celtic Park Stadium after being nominated for giving their time to developing the nation's youth through sport. The baton was then passed to Sir Chris Hoy, who delivered it to President of the Commonwealth Games Federation HRH Prince Imran and the Queen who then declared the games open. The BBC provided coverage of the relay.[8] Adventurer Mark Beaumont presented a series of documentaries filmed on the relay for BBC One Scotland, there were also weekly updates for BBC News and a BBC News website and blog written by Mark.

The product design consultancy awarded the contract to the design of the 2014 Queen's Baton is a local Glasgow company called 4c Design.[9] 4c Design wanted the 2014 baton to be true to the original intentions of the first relay and so wanted to focus the design around the Queen's handwritten message. Also rather than using cutting edge electronics, they choose to focus on cutting edge manufacturing. This all culminated in the Queen's message being internally illuminated to hint at the secret within, then surrounded by a titanium lattice framework that was grown using the latest additive manufacturing technology. At the top is a puzzle mechanism that dispenses granite gemstones to each of the Commonwealth nations and territories the baton visits, inviting them to join Glasgow at the Games. The puzzle mechanism also has a second function of keeping the message safely locked away until the opening ceremony, where the second stage of the puzzle will be unveiled. The handle of the Queen's Baton is made of Elm wood which came from the Isle of Cumbrae in Scotland. The Elm tree was felled by a local man called David Stevenson in the grounds of the Garrison House and the baton itself is crafted using an old boat building technique called bird mouthing.

Queen's Baton Relay

for the

XXI Commonwealth GamesAustralia Gold Coast, Australia

The 2018 Queen’s Baton Relay was launched on Commonwealth Day, 13 March 2017, on the historic forecourt at Buckingham Palace, signalling the official countdown to the start of the Games. Accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh and Prince Edward The Earl of Wessex, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II heralded the start of the relay by placing her ‘message to the Commonwealth and its athletes’ into the distinctive loop-design Queen’s Baton which then set off on its journey around the globe. It traveled for 388 days, spending time in every nation and territory of the Commonwealth. The Gold Coast 2018 Queen’s Baton Relay was the longest in Commonwealth Games history. Covering 230,000 km over 388 days, the baton made its way through the six Commonwealth regions of Africa, the Americas, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia and Oceania. The baton landed on Australian soil in December 2017 and then spent 100 days travelling through Australia, finishing its journey at the Opening Ceremony on 4 April 2018, where the message was removed from the Baton and read aloud by Charles, Prince of Wales.[10] For the first time, the Queen's baton was presented at the Commonwealth Youth Games during its sixth edition in 2017 which were held in Nassau, Bahamas.[11]

The baton for the Gold Coast 2018 was designed by Brisbane-based company Designworks to reflect the local culture and life of Queensland. Designed for each Games by the host nation, the 2018 Queen’s Baton has been made using macadamia wood and reclaimed plastic, sourced from Gold Coast waterways, and inspired by the region’s vibrant spirit and indigenous heritage.

Final Baton Runners

Games Baton-carrier
Cardiff 1958 Ken Jones
Perth 1962 Phil Afford[12]
Kingston 1966 Keith Gardner, Paul Foreman, Ernle Haisley, Laurie Khan, Mel Spence
Edinburgh 1970 Eileen Coughlan
Christchurch 1974 Sylvia Potts
Edmonton 1978 Diane Jones-Konihowski
Brisbane 1982 Raelene Boyle
Edinburgh 1986 Allan Wells
Auckland 1990 Peter Snell
Victoria 1994 Myriam Bédard
Kuala Lumpur 1998 Koh Eng Tong
Manchester 2002 David Beckham and Kirsty Howard
Melbourne 2006 John Landy
Delhi 2010 Sushil Kumar
Glasgow 2014 Sir Chris Hoy
Gold Coast 2018 Sally Pearson

See also


  1. ^ At that time, the Commonwealth of Nations had 53 members (the current total is 54 after Rwanda's entry in 2009). However, the four Home Nations send separate teams to the Commonwealth Games, as do individual British Crown Dependencies, several British overseas territories, the Australian external territory of Norfolk Island, and two non-sovereign states in free association with New Zealand, the Cook Islands and Niue.


  1. ^ a b "Queen's Baton Relay: The tradition continues..." Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games Corporation. Retrieved 15 February 2007.
  2. ^ "Queen's baton relay".
  3. ^ "Queen Hands Over Games Baton". Utusan Malaysia.
  4. ^ "Key Relay Facts". m2002.thecgf.com. Retrieved 10 September 2017.
  5. ^ "BBC Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games - The Queen's Jubilee Baton Relay". www.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 10 September 2017.
  6. ^ "The Melbourne 2006 Queen's Baton - Spirit of the Games - The Queen's Baton - Culture Victoria". Culture Victoria. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
  7. ^ CWG 2010 Queen's baton arrives in India CWG 2010 Queen's baton arrives in India Archived 11 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ BBC Coverage of the Queen's Baton Relay
  9. ^ Designers of the Glasgow 2014 Queen's Baton
  10. ^ "Commonwealth Games Federation - Queen's Baton Relay". www.thecgf.com. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
  11. ^ "Design and route for Gold Coast 2018 Queen's Baton Relay revealed". 20 November 2016. Retrieved 7 September 2017.
  12. ^ https://www.insidethegames.biz/articles/1047992/passing-the-baton-a-history-of-the-commonwealth-games-relay

External links

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