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Queen thanks Charles and Philip in what could be her last speech as head of the Commonwealth

Published 27/11/2015

Queen Elizabeth II delivers her speech during the traditional CHOGM dinner at the Corinthia Palace Hotel in Attard, Malta. Toby Melville/PA Wire.
Queen Elizabeth II delivers her speech during the traditional CHOGM dinner at the Corinthia Palace Hotel in Attard, Malta. Toby Melville/PA Wire.

The Queen has thanked the Prince of Wales for his support and "great distinction" in what could be her final speech as head of the Commonwealth.

She also praised the Duke of Edinburgh for his "boundless energy and commitment" in her opening address at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Chogm) in Malta.

The Queen spoke fondly of the time she spent on the island with her husband as a newly-married couple and added: "Prince Philip and I first came to live here in 1949, the same year in which the Commonwealth was founded."

She said she has "cherished" her time as leader of the Commonwealth, a role she has held for more than 60 years.

"I feel enormously proud of what the Commonwealth has achieved, and all of it within my lifetime," she added.

"For more than six decades of being head of the Commonwealth, a responsibility I have cherished, I have had the fortune of the constancy of the Duke of Edinburgh.

"To that, and to his many other Commonwealth associations, Prince Philip has brought boundless energy and commitment, for which I am indebted.

"Nor could I wish to have been better supported and represented in the Commonwealth than by The Prince of Wales who continues to give so much to it with great distinction."

She concluded by thanking the Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma "for his own eight years of dedicated service".

The Queen wore a dark purple silk dress under a light blue woven coat and black gloves. The outfit was completed with a matching hat, designed by Angela Kelly.

The Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond are among leaders from 53 nations attending the two-day summit.

David Cameron has announced plans to set up a Commonwealth unit targeting the extremist "scourge" that is fuelling international terrorism.

He has pledged £5 million to help countries find new ways of stopping "poisonous ideologies" from taking hold.

The Queen, who is accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, will host a reception for new Commonwealth leaders.

The event will feature more than 360 artists and performers, including the Maltese Philharmonic Orchestra and tenor Joseph Calleja.

The Royals will continue their tour of Malta and are due to attend a banquet at the Corinthia Palace Hotel in Valletta this evening.

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