President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan yesterday attended a special Diamond Jubilee lunch at Marlborough House in London, as Commonwealth members gathered to celebrates 60 years of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign as head of the Commonwealth. Dr Waheed was accompanied by the First Lady Madam Ilham Hussein.
The lunch, hosted by Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma, came after Dr Waheed and Madam Ilham had attended a national service of thanksgiving, during which the President met with the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge, and the British Prime Minister David Cameron.
“Two billion citizens of the Commonwealth are represented here today. This gathering is testimony to the profound sense of gratitude, respect and affection felt towards Your Majesty,” Sharma told those gathered.
“The Commonwealth remains vibrant as it renews its role. Never before, and surely never again, has so diverse a group of nations, representing a third of the world’s peoples, been joined in free and voluntary association,” he continued.
The leaders presented Her Majesty with a commemorative plaque, to be embedded in the gardens of Marlborough House, which reads:
“Offered with profound admiration and abiding appreciation for the manner in which Her Majesty has diligently and faithfully served the Commonwealth and advanced its values of democracy, development and respect for diversity through six decades, as both the Head and heart of the Commonwealth family, evoking deep respect and affection from Commonwealth citizens around the globe.”
President Waheed will use the rest of his time in the UK to further discuss the current political situation in the Maldives with senior officials, to liaise with the local media, and to meet with the local Maldivian community. He will return to the Maldives on Friday.