It’s a well-known fact that the Queen never comments on politics.
So with a major address due tomorrow, just hours before MPs cast a string of crucial Brexit votes, she will be extra careful not to stray into the fray.
Even so, some remarks in her Commonwealth Day message have inevitably drawn attention from those combing through the weeds for a political undertone from the Monarch.
She will praise not only “the links that we share”, but also “the networks of cooperation and mutual support to which we contribute, and on which we draw.”
Some have claimed that could be interpreted as a reference to the EU – into which, of course, we both pay in and draw out.
It’s the latest in a long line of attempts to read the tea leaves of Her Majesty’s innocent remarks.
First it was ‘Queen Backs Brexit’ (which was ruled inaccurate after a legal battle).
Then it was her not-so-subtle EU flag hat.
Then it was claimed the Queen was slapping down politicians over Brexit when she said in January: “I for one prefer the tried and tested recipes, like speaking well of each other and respecting different points of view; coming together to seek out the common ground; and never losing sight of the bigger picture.”
The Queen will use her Commonwealth Day message to praise how the family of nations inspires its member states to find ways of protecting the planet and its citizens.
Millions of people are “drawn together” because of the collective values shared by the institution, the Queen says in her address to the 53 countries of the Commonwealth.
The written message is featured in the order of service for the annual Commonwealth Day service being held on Monday, attended by senior members of the royal family and national figures.
The Queen will be joined at the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey by the Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Duke and Duchess of Sussex and the Duke of York.
Other guests among the 2,000-strong congregation will include Prime Minister Theresa May , the Commonwealth Secretary-General Baroness Scotland, alongside high commissioners, ambassadors, faith leaders and more than 800 schoolchildren and young people.
Commonwealth Day has a special significance this year, as 2019 marks the 70th anniversary of the modern Commonwealth – a global network of 53 countries and almost 2.4 billion people.
The theme for this year’s service is “A Connected Commonwealth” which highlights the co-operation between the culturally diverse family of nations who work together in friendship.
Highlights of the service include performances by Grammy-winning group Clean Bandit and tenor Alfie Boe. A reflection will be given by Lewis Pugh, an endurance swimmer, ocean advocate and the UN Patron of the Oceans.
Organised by the Royal Commonwealth Society, the Commonwealth Service is the largest annual inter-faith gathering in the UK and will be broadcast live on BBC One.
Later in the evening, Charles and Camilla will be guests of the Commonwealth Secretary-General at the annual reception which traditionally takes place on Commonwealth Day at Marlborough House, the home of the Commonwealth Secretariat, the institution’s civil service.
Full text of the Queen’s Commonwealth Day message
“Commonwealth Day has a special significance this year as we mark the 70th anniversary of the London Declaration, when nations of the Commonwealth agreed to move forward together as free and equal members.
“The vision and sense of connection that inspired the signatories has stood the test of time, and the Commonwealth continues to grow, adapting to address contemporary needs.
“Today, many millions of people around the world are drawn together because of the collective values shared by the Commonwealth.
“In April last year, I welcomed the leaders of our 53 nations to Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, and we all witnessed how the Commonwealth vision offers hope, and inspires us to find ways of protecting our planet, and our people.
“We are able to look to the future with greater confidence and optimism as a result of the links that we share, and thanks to the networks of cooperation and mutual support to which we contribute, and on which we draw.
“With enduring commitment through times of great change, successive generations have demonstrated that whilst the goodwill for which the Commonwealth is renowned may be intangible, its impact is very real.
“We experience this as people of all backgrounds continue to find new ways of expressing through action the value of belonging in a connected Commonwealth.
“I hope and trust that many more will commit to doing so this Commonwealth Day.”