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Royal family celebrate the Commonwealth

The Queen and the Prince of Wales attended a Commonwealth reception tonight to celebrate the "family of nations".

Queen Elizabeth II speaks with Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma Credit: PA Wire

The monarch traditionally holds the Buckingham Palace event ahead of a Commonwealth summit and invites high commissioners and leading individuals from their nations.

Queen Elizabeth II greets Foreign Secretary William Hague at the reception Credit: PA Wire

Prince Charles will deputise for the Queen - who is missing the Heads of Government for the first time since 1973 - in Sri Lanka next month.

he Duchess of Cornwall greets Adebayo Oladimeji of the Nigerian Council of Elders Credit: PA Wire

The Duke of Edinburgh was also at the monarch's side and the Duchess of Cornwall joined the prince.

Gambia quits Commonwealth

Gambia has quit the Commonwealth, justifying the shock announcement made on state television by saying it would "never be a member of any neo-colonial institution".

Gambian President Yahya Jammeh addressing the United Nations General Assembly last month. Credit: PA

In an unexpected move the West African nation did not give any other clear reason as to what had caused them to withdraw from the Commonwealth, an organisation of 54 nations, most which were formally under British colonial rule.

A statement read out on TV said: "The government has withdrawn its membership of the British Commonwealth and decided that the Gambia will never be a member of any neo-colonial institution and will never be a party to any institution that represents an extension of colonialism."

A spokesman for the Foreign Office said they would "much regret" Gambia, or any other country's, decision to leave the Commonwealth.


Queen cancels engagements as recovery continues

The Queen has cancelled two engagements as she continues to recover from her recent illness.

A statement from Buckingham Palace says she has completed some official duties today but will miss the Tech City engagement planned for tomorrow and the Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Scriptures Association Service at the Guards Chapel on Thursday.

The Queen has cancelled two engagements as she continues to recover from her recent illness. Credit: Press Association.

The statement continued: "The Duke ofYork will represent The Queen at the Tech City visit, and The Duke of Edinburghwill attend the Guards Chapel Service as planned.

"Her Majesty will, however, continue with the usual rhythm of business at Buckingham Palace, including holding a Privy Council meeting tomorrow.

"The Queen hopes to resume her programme of official engagements next week."

The Queen puts illness aside to sign historic charter

The Queen signs the Commonwealth's historic charter. Credit: Philip Toscano/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The Queen signed the Commonwealth's historic charter tonight despite still recovering from the symptoms of gastroenteritis.

Making her first official public appearance for more than a week she described the document as capturing "the core values and aspirations" of the family of nations, before putting her name to it.

Queen Elizabeth II, Head of the Commonwealth signs the Commonwealth Charter at a reception at Marlborough House. Credit: Philip Toscano/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The Queen was forced to miss the annual Commonwealth Day service this afternoon as she was still recovering.

But she looked well and in good spirits when she arrived at Marlborough House in central London, home of the Commonwealth, with the Duke of Edinburgh for the signing.

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