The Prince of Wales said the Commonwealth Games “remind us of our connection to each other… as a family of nations” as he officially opened the event on behalf of the Queen.
Fireworks, a music set by the city’s own Duran Duran and a 10m high bull welcomed a sell-out crowd to the Alexander Stadium in Perry Barr on Thursday evening for the biggest sporting event in Britain since the London Olympics in 2012. .
As part of his brief speech at the event, Charles said Birmingham “symbolizes the rich diversity and unity of the Commonwealth”, which was brought together by renowned artistic director Iqbal Khan.
Charles wasn’t the only high-profile speaker at the event, as activist Malala Yousafzai spoke about how “every child deserves the chance to reach their full potential and fulfill their wildest dreams”.
In a short but powerful message, the activist and author said the competitors represent millions of children and “our shared hope for the future.”
“Tonight, teams from 72 countries and territories will join the people of Birmingham to celebrate friendship across borders,” he said.
“The young athletes competing over the next few weeks will represent millions of girls and boys across the Commonwealth – our shared hope for the future. A future where every child can go to school, where women are free to participate in society. , where families can live in peace and dignity.
“Over the next two weeks as we watch the incredible athletes from the Commonwealth Games, remember that every child deserves the chance to reach their full potential and achieve their wildest dreams.”
The Duchess of Cornwall was joined by her husband as she entered the arena in a blue soft-top Aston Martin DB6 Volante to huge cheers from the audience.
The car, which runs on cheese and wine, was loaned by Charles to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for their wedding in 2011.
The pair then stood on a platform while 72 other red, white and blue cars, belonging to the Birmingham car industry, formed a Union Jack flag.
They then took their seats as the Red Arrows display team flew over the stadium, leaving a trail of red, white and blue.
Birmingham was awarded the Games after scheduled hosts Durban in South Africa pulled out due to financial problems.
In the next 11 days, more than 5,000 athletes from 72 countries will participate in 280 events across 19 sports.
Addressing the crowd on behalf of the Queen, Charles said: “On October 7 last year, this specially made baton left Buckingham Palace to travel across the Commonwealth.
“Over the past 294 days, it has carried not only my message to you, but also the shared hopes and dreams of every nation and region through which it has passed, as it has made its way to Birmingham.
“Over the years, many people coming together for ‘friendly games’ have led to memorable shared experiences, long-lasting relationships, and even some friendly rivalries.
“But above all they remind us of our connection to one another, wherever we are in the world, as part of the Commonwealth of Nations family.”
Charles continued: “Tonight, in the words of the founder of the Games, we begin a new adventure once again here in Birmingham, an important city that has attracted so many people throughout its history. Did and adopted it.
“It is a symbol of the rich diversity and unity of the Commonwealth, and a city that now welcomes you all in friendship.
“I wish every player and team every success. Your hard work and dedication, especially in recent times, has been an inspiration to us all.
“I am now most delighted to declare the 22nd Commonwealth Games open.”
Doran Doran was also in attendance at the event as well as other West Midlands celebrities, including comedian Sir Lenny Henry who opened the athlete parade.
The mechanical bull provided a spectacle for many, but its introduction was a moving moment for the families of the victims of the Birmingham pub bombings as their names were displayed on its head.
Before the ceremony, Charles visited the key players’ village and posed for selfies and team photos.
He met sportsmen and women from dozens of countries, and posed for group photos with teams including Scotland, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and – naturally – Wales.
On Thursday morning, Boris Johnson said he was “very confident” there would be a legacy from the £778 million of taxpayer money that has gone into the Games – which are being held as the country faces a crisis of livelihood. is facing
Speaking at the Commonwealth Business Forum in the West Midlands city, the outgoing Prime Minister said: “You can feel the excitement here in this mighty city of Birmingham as thousands of athletes from 56 countries, 72 countries and territories around the world Numbers are already here.”
He added: “Should we have done this with the pressures of living costs? Will there be any legacy from the £778 million of taxpayers’ money that has gone into these games?
“And so right now, I want you to know that I’m here to tell you that I’m pretty sure the answer to that question is yes. A thousand times over, yes.”
“I say this because I remember a similar moment of nerves, almost 10 years ago, just before the start of the London 2012 Games.”
Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries also defended the cost of hosting the event, whose £778 million budget was provided by the Government and Birmingham City Council.
In his speech, the Prime Minister joked that “the whole of the European Union” should become a member of the Commonwealth.
“I think we’ve beaten France consistently. Every time we’ve beaten Germany consistently and more importantly we’ve beaten Australia.
“And even though France and Germany are not members of the Commonwealth, or not yet. Why not? Bring them in. Bring the whole EU in. A logical solution.”