Королева дала старт Эстафете огня Игр Содружества* (Глазго 2014)
*Игры Содружества (англ. Commonwealth Games) — международные комплексные спортивные соревнования стран Содружества наций, проводимые раз в четыре года, по количеству участников и объёму выступлений уступающие лишь Летним Олимпиадам.
Glasgow 2014: Queen to launch Commonwealth Games baton relay
The Queen signing the message, which will be placed inside The Queen's Baton
The Queen is to begin the baton relay which will visit all 70 competing nations and territories ahead of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
The baton will contain the Queen's hand-written message to the Commonwealth.
Unlike the Olympic Torch, there is just one baton and it will visit every country taking part in the games, which begin on 23 July 2014.
The 288-day relay starts from Buckingham Palace in London.
It will travel to Scotland on Thursday before heading for its first international port-of-call in India on 11 October.
The baton contains the Queen's message to the Commonwealth
The baton will visit the big Commonwealth countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, South Africa, Malaysia, Australia, Kenya, Ghana, Jamaica and Canada.
And also smaller destinations, including Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, St Kitts and Nevis and the Falklands Islands.
It will not now visit The Gambia, which last week withdrew from the Commonwealth, saying it will "never be a member of any neo-colonial institution".
The relay arrives back in the UK in May next year, visiting Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man, Northern Ireland, Wales and England before a 40-day tour of Scotland in the run-up to the start of the games.
The final relay runner hands the baton, which contains the sealed, hand-written scroll, back to the Queen at the opening ceremony.
About 200 invited guests will attend the event to mark the start of the relay, which will involve Commonwealth Games Federation president Prince Tunku Imran and Lord Smith of Kelvin, the chairman of Glasgow's games organising committee.
Scottish Olympians Sir Chris Hoy and Allan Wells will take part in a ceremony which will see the Queen beginning the baton relay.
Sprint legend Wells, winner of two Commonwealth Golds and the 100m Olympic sprint title at the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games, will be the first athlete to receive the baton from the Queen and start it on its journey.
He said: "As the final runner of the Queen's Baton Relay (QBR) at the last Commonwealth Games on Scottish soil in Edinburgh in 1986, the baton and what it symbolises is incredibly special for me.
"It is a real honour for me to now be named as the first baton-bearer for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games."
Sir Chris, a six-time Gold Olympian and double Commonwealth Gold medallist, will escort the baton as it makes the processional journey down the Mall, accompanied by pipers, to the ceremony itself.
Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said: "The start of the Queen's Baton Relay, with two of Scotland's greatest-ever athletes, is another step towards what will be a momentous year for Scotland.
"2014 promises the greatest-ever Games and the relay will provide a fantastic celebration of sport and culture across the Commonwealth, with Glasgow and Scotland at its heart."
The baton will spend an average of one to four days in each nation, with an extended duration of seven days in Wales, two weeks in England and 40 days in Scotland.
The designers of the baton said the message from the Queen was "pivotal" and they were keen it should not be "hidden away".
The baton has a lattice design, made from layers of titanium fused together by laser, which means the message is visible.
The parchment, handmade in Glasgow using linen and plant fibre, is also "dramatically" illuminated by LED lights within a transparent cylinder to make the sealed scroll easier to see.
The brief for designers stated that the baton should be easily handed from person to person, should weigh no more than 2kg and must be able to withstand all weathers for the 10-month relay.
The baton's handle is made of elm wood sourced from the grounds of Garrison House on the Isle of Cumbrae and was constructed using a boatbuilding technique called bird-mouthing, which means it is light, strong and durable.
The top of the baton contains a granite "gemstone" which will be detached by opening a puzzle mechanism and given as gift to each nation and territory.
The gems are made of water-resistant granite unique to Scotland and were sourced from Ailsa Craig in the Firth of Clyde.
Glasgow 2014 will be the 20th Commonwealth Games and will feature 17 sports in 11 days of competition, with 261 medal events.
The Commonwealth of Nations has 54 members, but 70 teams participate in the Commonwealth Games because a number of British overseas territories, Crown dependencies and island states compete under their own flag.
The UK nations - Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland - compete separately in the Commonwealth Games, as do the smaller home territories such as Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man.
The first Queen's Baton Relay was staged for the 1958 Commonwealth Games in Cardiff and has been the curtain raiser to the Games ever since.
But until 1998, the relay would only travel through England and the host nation.
By 2002, in Manchester, it was covering 100,000km and visiting 23 nations.
Melbourne 2006 was the first baton relay to visit all the nations which sent teams to the Games