The Queen has hidden a secret message inside the 2022 Commonwealth Games baton

The Queen at the Commonwealth Games launch
(Image credit: Getty Images)

After returning to Windsor Castle following a long summer break at Balmoral, Her Majesty the Queen is officially back in action.

In fact, between entertaining some very special guests at Windsor Castle yesterday, and opening the sixth session of the Scottish Parliament last weekend, the monarch has barely stopped since returning to royal duties. (It's no wonder she needs that secret 'booze tunnel' for reprieve, then.)

She also attended her first major event at Buckingham Palace since the COVID-19 pandemic began, joining her youngest son, Prince Edward, in attending a special ceremony launching the 2022 Commonwealth Games yesterday.

Taking place every four years, the sporting event brings together athletes from the 72 nations and territories that make up the Commonwealth, with next summer's edition convening in Birmingham.

See more

But before the 22nd Games begin in 293 days, a baton relay will visit locations in all of the participating countries, covering over 90,000 miles. The relay began during Thursday's ceremony, with HRH passing the baton off to Kadeena Cox, the Team GB para-cyclist and sprinter who won two gold medals at the Tokyo Paralympics in August.

"It was an absolute honour to participate in this once-in-a-lifetime event. Receiving the Queen’s Baton from Her Majesty The Queen was a moment I’ll keep with me for the rest of my life," the Paralympian said in a statement. "It’s so exciting to think that this Baton will now travel across the Commonwealth, where other inspirational individuals will become baton bearers in their own communities."

But it wouldn't be the Queen if there wasn't some unexpected element to the ceremony.

On the Royal Family's social media, it was revealed that Her Majesty had actually placed a message inside of the baton, to be kept secret until the games begin next year. (Sounds a bit Harry Potter Triwizard Tournament, if you ask us.)

But turns out that it's actually customary for the monarch to include a hand signed secret message in the Commonwealth baton – and this year's edition looks particularly fancy. Yep, not only has it been designed with LED lights, a heart rate monitor, and a 360-degree camera, it's also been constructed with a strand of platinum to honour Her Majesty's jubilee next year.

Exciting times to come in 2022!

Kate McCusker

Kate McCusker is a freelance writer at Marie Claire UK, having joined the team in 2019. She studied fashion journalism at Central Saint Martins, and her byline has also appeared in Dezeen, British Vogue, The Times and woman&home. In no particular order, her big loves are: design, good fiction, bad reality shows and the risible interiors of celebrity houses.