THE QUEEN proudly kicked off the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games with Prince Edward at her side this morning.

The Queen's Baton Relay began from the forecourt of Buckingham Palace before embarking on its 90,000 mile international journey to all 72 nations and territories taking part.

Her Majesty placed her message inside the "smart" baton, which was automatically sealed, ahead of its 294-day journey.

She then handed it to Paralympic gold medallist Kadeena Cox, who will take it on its first leg of its voyage.

The Monarch, looking extremely dashing in an autumnal orange coat and matching hat, beamed alongside her youngest son, the Earl of Wessex, at Buckingham Palace.

The launch marks the 95-year-old's first major royal engagement from her official London residence since the Covid pandemic began.

This year's baton is equipped with state-of-the-art technology to protect the Queen's message until it is read at the opening ceremony of the Games back in Birmingham on July 28, 2022.

The Queen is patron of the Commonwealth Games Federation and was joined at the ceremony by the institution’s vice patron, Prince Edward.

They met the design team from West Midlands behind the revolutionary symbol, which they previously described as the "first true smart baton".

It is equipped with a 360-degree camera to capture its extensive journey, a sensor that records and displays the heartbeats of the 7,500 bearers.

It also features GPS tracking, LED lighting and has "lungs" – atmospheric sensors that use laser technology to examine the environmental conditions of whichever location it may be in.

The baton even has a "brain" that records and transmits imagery and digital information.

A strand of platinum has also been incorporated into the baton to commemorate the Queen's 70-year reign.

The Royal's were warmly welcomed by representatives from the Commonwealth Games Federation, grassroots sports organisations from the West Midlands and athletes competing in next year's Games.

Baroness Scotland, secretary-general of the Commonwealth, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and sports minister Nigel Huddleston also attended.

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