The Queen’s Baton
Relay is one of the great traditions of the Commonwealth
Games, having been part of opening ceremony at every
Games since Cardiff, Wales, in 1958. The relay symbolises
the gathering of people from across the Commonwealth
at the four-yearly festival of sport and culture.
The relay traditionally begins with
a commencement ceremony at Buckingham Palace, London,
which coincides with the city’s Commonwealth
There Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II entrusts the
baton containing Her ‘message to the athletes’
to the first honorary relay runner.
The relay concludes at the Opening Ceremony, as
the final relay runner hands the baton back to Her
Majesty, or Her representative, and the message
is read aloud. At that moment the relay ends and
the Games begin.
Over the years, the Queen’s Baton Relay has
evolved into a powerful symbol of the unity and
diversity of the Commonwealth of Nations. With each
Games, the tradition grows in scale and significance
– including more nations, involving more participants
and generating more excitement than ever before.
The Kuala Lumpur 1998 Queen’s
Baton Relay (pictured left) was the first to deliver
the relay to other nations of the Commonwealth, outside
of England and the host country.
The Manchester 2002 Queen’s
Jubilee Baton (pictured left) travelled more than
100,000 kilometres in 87 days, and visited
23 Commonwealth nations.
The Melbourne 2006 Queen’s Baton travelled
an epic journey of more than 180,000 kilometres
in a year and a day, and visited all 71 nations
of the Commonwealth – home to almost one third
of the world’s population.
The Melbourne 2006 Queen’s Baton Relay was
the world’s longest, most inclusive relay.
No other Games relay has visited all member nations.
More than 60 per cent of Commonwealth nations first hosted the Queen’s Baton Relay in the year leading to the 2006 Games. This included the tiny island nations of Saint Helena off the coast of Africa and Niue in the South Pacific.
Hundreds of welcome ceremonies and other community
festivities were held along the relay route, enabling
many millions of people across the globe to join
in the celebrations for the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth
The Glasgow 2014 Queen’s Baton Relay
The Queen’s Baton Relay was launched at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday 9 October 2013, where Her Majesty The Queen Elizabeth II placed Her message to the Commonwealth into the baton.
Over a period of 288 days the baton will cover more than 190,000 kilometres, averaging one to four days in each nation or territory. The first region the baton will be travel to will be Asia. From Asia the baton will travel onto Oceania, Africa, Americas (south), Caribbean, Americas (north) before returning to Europe.
The baton visited Australia for five days from 31 October to 4 November. Landing in Perth on 31 October, the baton then visited Gold Coast - host city of the 2018 Games - and Canberra. From there it went to Townsville (3 November) and Cairns (4 November) before flying out to its next destination, Papua New Guinea.
The baton will return to Scotland 248 days after its journey begins where it will be cheered through the towns, cities and communities for 40 days before concluding its journey at the Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony on 23 July 2014.
Her Majesty The Queen will read Her message aloud, bringing the baton’s journey to an end and declaring the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games open.
To view a video about the route of the Queen’s Baton Relay click here.
The Design of the 2014 Queen’s Baton
For each Games the host country designs a unique Baton.
The Glasgow 2014 baton embodies Glasgow and Scotland’s culture, history and innovation in its design and construction.
At the heart of the baton is the Queen’s Message, inscribed on a parchment handmade in Glasgow using linen and plant fibre. The message will be scrolled and held in a transparent cylinder within a pure titanium latticework frame. For the first time, the message forms the visual core of the baton design – illuminated from within by LED lights, yet unreadable until the Opening Ceremony.
The lattice frame takes inspiration from Glasgow’s rich industrial and architectural heritage. State-of-the-art Direct Metal laser sintering was used to create its striking organic form, fusing together layers of pure titanium powder three hundredths of a millimetre thick with a focused laser beam.
The baton’s handle is made of elm wood sourced from the grounds of Garrison House on the Isle of Cumbrae – a tribute to Scotland’s natural resources. It was constructed using a boatbuilding technique called bird-mouthing, traditionally used to make masts for ships. Light, strong and durable, the handle was created by craftsmen at Galgael, a social enterprise that teaches traditional skills.
The baton contains a granite ‘gemstone’ which will be gifted to each nation and territory. Housed at the very top of the baton, it is released only by opening a clever puzzle mechanism. The gemstones, made of granite unique to Scotland, were sourced from Ailsa Craig in the firth of Clyde, crafted by Kays of Scotland, and embellished by jewellers from Glasgow School of Art.
To see more on the Glasgow 2014 Queen’s Baton design process click here.
The Delhi 2010 Queen’s Baton Relay
The Delhi 2010 Queen’s Baton Relay commenced at Buckingham Palace on 29 October 2009 and ended 340 days later at the Opening Ceremony of the XIX Commonwealth Games on 3 October 2010. During this period the Baton covered a distance in excess of 190,000 kilometres and was one of the longest Relays in history. Prior to commencing the national leg in India the Baton travelled to the other 70 nations of the Commonwealth with the national leg seeing the Baton visit the capital cities of India’s 28 states and seven union territories.
The Dehi 2010 Baton visited Australia in April for three days. On 19 April 2010 it was at Harris Park/Parramatta and Sydney; the following day in Melbourne (the previous host of the Commonwealth Games) and on 21 April in Brisbane/Gold Coast (who at the time were bidding for the 2018 Games).
The Design of the 2010 Queen’s Baton
The Delhi 2010 Queen’s Baton was a fusion of handcrafted elements interplayed with a precision engineered body, and ornamented with an intricate hand layered soil pattern. The shape and design of the Baton was created using a triangular section of aluminium which was twisted in the form of a helix and then coated with a diverse range of coloured soils collected from all over India.
The interweaving of coloured soils, including white sands, deep reds, warm yellows, dark browns and an array of other hues created a very distinctive design, form and texture in the styling of the Baton.
Culminating at the pinnacle of the Baton was a precious jewellery box containing the Queen’s “message to the athletes”. The Queen’s message was symbolically engraved onto a miniature 18 carat gold leaf, representative of the ancient Indian “pathras”. The gold leaf inscription reflected the essence and the richness of culture in ancient India. Modern laser technology known as micro calligraphy was used for the first time to reproduce the Queen’s message in this style.
Other technology features in the Queen’s Baton for the XIX Commonwealth Games 2010, Delhi included:
• the ability to capture images and sound as it travelled;
• global positioning system technology through which the exact location of the Baton could be tracked on the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games website;
• embedded light emitting diodes which changed into the colours of a country’s flag whilst in that country; and
• text messaging capability so that anyone anywhere could send their messages to the Baton bearers throughout the Relay.
The Melbourne 2006 Queen’s Baton Relay
The Melbourne 2006 Queen’s Baton Relay was the world’s longest, most inclusive relay – travelling to all 71 nations of the Commonwealth in a year and a day.
The design and technological features of the baton that travelled this epic journey reflected the relay’s efforts to showcase the diversity of the Commonwealth and unite its communities in celebration of the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games.
The Design of the 2006 Queen’s Baton
The elegant, curved form of the baton took its inspiration from the physical form of athletes arching forward as they strive for success. The 71 larger lights on the front of the baton indicated the 71 nations of the Commonwealth that the Queen’s Baton visited on its journey to the Games. These progressively lit up as the baton arrived in each Commonwealth country, symbolising the gathering of the nations at the four-yearly festival of sport and culture.
Reflecting Australia’s unique heritage
The gold and magnesium used in the baton held
special significance to the people of the State of
Victoria, of which Melbourne is the capital. The gold
tip reflected Melbourne's elegance and grandeur
and the important role the metal has played in the
city's history and prosperity. Melbourne thrived
during Victoria's 1850s gold rush, which drew
many people from diverse nations to the great city
to seek their success.
Magnesium, often referred to as the ‘metal
of the future’, was used in the front panel
of the baton. Australia is one of the world’s
largest producers of magnesium and the metal has
special significance to Australia’s prosperity
and economic future. The green colour used on the
back of the baton reflected Melbourne’s park
surrounds and Victoria’s place as ‘The
The Melbourne 2006 Queen’s Baton, its interactive web-based and lighting technologies and all other associated products were designed by Melbourne-based industrial design and product development consultancy, Charlwood Design Pty Ltd in partnership with several other Victorian companies.
The Queen’s Baton Relay harnessed the very latest in digital and other communication technology to enable people across the globe to join the baton on its epic journey to the Opening Ceremony of the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games.
The high-tech baton-tracking technology housed in the baton enabled schoolchildren, adults, families and friends to pinpoint the baton’s location via the internet, supported by satellite coverage. The special interactive online baton tracking features included:
• baton tracker – using the latest global positioning system technology, the online tracking device could pinpoint the exact location of the baton at any time and indicated this on an online map of the world which zoomed in to the actual location
• baton cam – cameras mounted in the baton transmitted video footage of key relay moments to this website.
Specifications – Melbourne 2006 Queen’s Baton:
• height: 900mm
• width: 80mm
• weight: 1500g