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1978: Queen opens Commonwealth Games

VIDEO : A welcome for royal party of deafening proportions

The Queen has officially opened the 11th Commonwealth Games in Edmonton, Canada.

Her Majesty, who was accompanied by her husband, Prince Philip, and her two younger sons, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward, is the first reigning monarch to open the Games in their 50-year history.

A crowd of 45,000 spectators rose to their feet as the Royal party, travelling in two open-top cars, entered the stadium through the Marathon Gate.

In her opening speech, the Queen said how pleased she was to be in Edmonton for the games and, on behalf of the Canadian people, welcomed the 1,475 athletes from 46 different countries to the event.

Before her speech she was handed the Commonwealth baton from Canadian pentathlete Diane Jones Konihowski, whose identity had remained a closely guarded secret until today.

A message from the Queen, which had been handed over to Tanzanian relay runner Filbert Bayi in London eight days before, was also given to Her Majesty.

'Roles reversed'

The Royal message, traditionally read out at the beginning of each Commonwealth Games, had travelled more than 5,000 miles and had passed through 287 pairs of hands to reach its destination in Edmonton.

The Queen said: "In recent years Prince Philip, as your president, has performed the opening ceremony and has read my message, and I have closed the Games.

"This year, our roles are reversed for the first time and I am able to give you my message in person."

Before declaring the Games officially open, the Queen congratulated the athletes on the hard work they had put in to earn a place at the Games and wished them luck during the competition.

Following her speech Canadian highboard diver, Beverley Boys, took the Commonwealth Games oath on behalf of all the competitors.

In Context

The 1978 Commonwealth Games in Edmonton, Canada followed the 1974 Games in Christchurch, New Zealand.

In 1982 the Games were held in Brisbane, Australia.

During the 1978 games Great Britain won 115 medals, out of a total 394. Out of these 34 were gold.

Canada, the host country, won the most gold medals with a total of 45.


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