Successful winners and runner-ups stand a chance to win a trip to London for a week of educational and cultural events, culminating in a special Awards Ceremony.
Each year, young people are asked to write on a theme that explores the Commonwealth’s values and principles, fostering an empathetic and open-minded world view in the next generation of Commonwealth leaders. Recent themes have focused on the environment, inclusion, the role of youth leadership, and gender equality.
Annually, winners are invited to travel to the United Kingdom for a week of educational and cultural activities, which culminates in a special Awards Ceremony, usually held at Buckingham Palace, that is hosted by the Society’s Vice-Patron, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall. Past winners have gone on to become prominent leaders, including the Prime Minister of Singapore, Mr Lee Hsien Loong, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Mei Fong, and the renowned author, Elspeth Huxley.
The Society has a rich history of nurturing the creative talents of young people around the Commonwealth and we endeavour to promote literacy, expression and creativity by celebrating excellence and imagination. The Competition invites all young Commonwealth citizens and residents, regardless of region, education or background, to share ideas, celebrate their story and have their voice heard. Through partnerships with Book Aid International, Worldreader and the National Literacy Trust, the Society is working to increase access to this opportunity for a wider range of young people.
To be considered for the Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition, you must:
- Be a citizen of a Commonwealth country
- Be under 18 years of age
- Choose to answer one of the topics, and you are encouraged to interpret this in any way you wish.
- Think carefully about the form of writing you use to answer the topic. There are a variety of forms and styles to play with.
- Make sure to use your own voice and your own words. Judges are very good at spotting work that is not original.
- We understand that English is a diverse language and there are different and innovative ways of using it around the Commonwealth. We encourage diversity and creativity of language in submissions.
- Ensure you take into account grammar and punctuation whilst writing your piece. Do not submit an entry without proof-reading.
- Presentation is important: think about the visual appearance of the entry as well as the quality of the content.
Duration and Reward
- One Winner and Runner Up will be chosen from each category. Winners and Runners Up (accompanied by one adult/guardian) will be brought to London for a week of educational and cultural events, culminating in a special Awards Ceremony.
- A number of Gold Finalist, Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards will be given in both the Senior and Junior categories, rewarding excellence in writing.
- All successful entries will receive a Certificate of Participation.
- Local RCS branches often hold local and regional ceremonies or offer prizes so if you were made aware of the competition by your local RCS branch, please contact them after the competition closes on 30th June to inquire about any activities they might have planned.
Senior category (Born between 1 July 2003 and 30 June 2008 (14-18 years of age), maximum word count: 1500 words
- Imagine you are a Head of Government delivering a speech to your counterparts at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Rwanda. Write a speech that highlights what you believe should be a priority for collective action within the Commonwealth.
- Committed to the Commonwealth.
- Her Majesty The Queen was born in the twentieth century, a period that saw enormous social change driven by visionary and committed leaders. Reflect on an inspirational leader from this period.
- “Whilst experiences of the last year have been different across the Commonwealth, stirring examples of courage, commitment and selfless dedication to duty have been demonstrated in every Commonwealth nation and territory, notably by those working on the frontline who have been delivering healthcare and other public services in their communities.” – Her Majesty The Queen, Commonwealth Day Message 2021. Imagine you are working on the frontline. Write about your experience, explaining why you serve your community and why your service matters.
Junior category (Born on or after 1 July 2008 (under 14 years of age), maximum word count: 750 words
- Imagine you are a grandparent in 2022. Tell your grandchildren a bedtime story about an inspirational person.
- What are the best ways for young people to serve the Commonwealth in your view?
- Our Commonwealth community.
- Write a job description for a superhero needed to solve a problem in your community.
Method of Application
Interested and qualified young writers should click on the button below to commence their application and submit their write-ups.