Prince Charles read the Queen's message at Birmingham 2022 ©Getty Images

Prince Charles has opened the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games by reading a message from Queen Elizabeth II in which she saluted Birmingham as a city "symbolic of the rich diversity and unity of the Commonwealth."

Her message had been carried around the Commonwealth in a journey that began last October at Buckingham Palace.

It fell to Olympic and Commonwealth diving gold medallist Tom Daley to bring the Baton into the Alexander Stadium.

As he ran, the crowd heard a narration highlighting the 35 Commonwealth nations in which homosexuality is still criminalised.

The choice for the final Batonbearer was Denise Lewis, an Olympic and Commonwealth heptathlon champion, who is now Commonwealth Games England President. 

Prince Charles then read the words from The Queen.

"On October 7 last year, this specially created Baton left Buckingham Palace to travel across the Commonwealth," the message began.

"Over the past 294 days, it has carried not only my message to you, but also the shared hopes and dreams of each nation and territory in which it has passed, as it made its way to Birmingham.

"Over the years the coming together of so many at the Friendly Games has created memorable shared experiences, established long standing relationships, and even created some friendly rivalries, but above all it reminds us of our connection with one another wherever we may be in the world, as part of the Commonwealth family of nations."

Denise Lewis was the final Batonbearer for the Queen's message before it was read by Prince Charles ©Getty Images
Denise Lewis was the final Batonbearer for the Queen's message before it was read by Prince Charles ©Getty Images

The message also made reference to those including Canadian official Bobby Robinson who had pioneered the first Games staged in Hamilton, Ontario in 1930.

"Tonight in the words of the founder of the Games, we embark once again on a novel adventure here in Birmingham, a pioneering city which has drawn in and embraced so many throughout its history.

"It is a city symbolic of the rich diversity and unity of the Commonwealth, which now welcomes you in person."

The Queen’s message ended with an expression of gratitude to the organisers.

"My warmest thanks go to all those who have worked so hard to assure success of this particularly special sporting event.

"I wish each athlete every success and your hard work and dedication, particularly in recent times, have been an inspiration to all of us."

There had earlier been a filmed tribute reflecting the Queen’s close connections with the Commonwealth.

Many of the images featured the late Prince Philip, a long time President of the Commonwealth Games Federation.