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The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition 2021 Now Open

The Royal Commonwealth Society is pleased to announce the theme for The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition 2021.

Application Deadline: 30th June 2021

Eligible Countries: all Commonwealth countries and territories.

About the Award: For 2021 the Competition theme is Community in the Commonwealth. With the global spread of COVID-19, we’ve seen the lives of many Commonwealth citizens affected. However, through adversity, societies came together and stories of growth, community and hope continue to emerge.   

Each year, aspiring young writers are asked to submit their pieces in response to a theme. Recent themes have included Climate Action in the Commonwealth (2020), A Connected Commonwealth (2019), Towards a Common Future (2018), A Commonwealth for Peace (2017) and ‘An Inclusive Commonwealth’ (2016); drawing out innovative ideas for positive change and encouraging entrants to consider new perspectives. The theme is rooted in Commonwealth values, providing an interesting introduction to the network and allowing young people to explore their own connection to the Commonwealth, whilst fostering an empathetic and open-minded world view.


With the global spread of COVID-19, we’ve seen the lives of many Commonwealth citizens affected.
However through adversity, societies came together and stories of growth, community and hope continue to emerge.


Born between 1 July 2002 and 30 June 2007 (14-18 years of age)

Discuss the following:

  1. “The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” – Coretta Scott King
    Keeping connected through COVID-19
  2. It’s been 30 years since the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, what does the world look like
  3. Imagine you are the Head of a Commonwealth nation heavily affected by COVID-19 and giving a national address at the end of the pandemic. What would

Born on or after 1 July 2007 (under 14 years of age)

1.The year is 2050 and you’ve been asked to write about the coronavirus pandemic for a museum. What story would you
2. Tell a story of how you, or someone you know, helped others during the pandemic.
3. ‘We will be with our friends again. We will be with our families again. We will meet again’ – HM Queen Elizabeth II
After the pandemic, you are seeing a friend for the first time. What new hobbies would you share with them?
4. What did you miss most during the pandemic?

The QCEC is open to all citizens and residents of the Commonwealth aged 18 and under and is open until 30 June 2021. All entrants receive a Certificate of Participation and one Winner and Runner-up from the Senior and Junior categories will win a trip to London for a week of educational and cultural events.

Commonwealth Essay Competition

Offered Since: 1883

Eligibility: Entries will be disqualified if they fail to meet any of the following requirements:

  1. The competition is open to nationals or residents of all Commonwealth countries and territories, as well as residents of Hong Kong and Zimbabwe. Residents of non-Commonwealth countries whose entries are submitted through their local RCS branch are also eligible.
  2. Entries must be written in English. 
  3. Entrants must select a Senior or Junior topic depending on their age on 30 June 2021. Senior entrants must be born between 1 July 2002 and 30 June 2007 (14-18 years) and Junior entrants must be born after 1 July 2007 (under 14 years of age).
  4. The maximum word counts are 1,500 words for Senior entries and 750 words for Junior There is no minimum word count. These word limits apply to all topics and all formats (essay, poem, letter, etc). Exceeding the word count will result in automatic disqualification. References and foot notes are not included in the word count.
  5. Only one entry per participant will be accepted. Please carefully check and edit your writing before submitting the final copy, and also ensure that all supplementary information is filled in correctly (name, contact details, etc.)
  6. Uploaded entries should not include the entrant’s personal details (e.g. name, age, school, etc.). This information should be entered during the submission process.
  7. Plagiarism is not accepted in the competition. Every year a number of students are disqualified because they are suspected of plagiarism.
  8. The final copy submitted for the competition must be the entrant’s own work, and cannot be excessively corrected or improved by another person. This does not rule out input or assistance from others but does exclude group entries.  
  9. By entering the competition, you agree that your personal details (e.g. full name, contact details, school, entry, etc.) will be retained by the Royal Commonwealth Society in line with its Privacy Policy and may be shared with Royal Commonwealth Society partners for the purpose of delivering the competition, and its other charitable purposes. See our Privacy Policy for more information. Please note: QCEC Winners and Runners-up will have their full names, schools, entries and photographs displayed on the RCS website and social media channels.
  10. Essays can only be uploaded as a Microsoft Word document (.doc or .docx) or in PDF format (.pdf). The online platform does not accept Google Docs (.gdoc), Pages documents (.pages) or other word processor formats. If we are unable to find or open your essay file (either through an incorrect format or upload error), your entry may not be counted in the competition.
  11. All entries must be written on, and relevant to, one of the listed topics in the relevant age category.
  12. All online entries must be submitted before 23:59 BST on 30th June 2021; any offline entries must arrive at the Royal Commonwealth Society office in London by 30th June 2021 or they will not be counted.
  13. All entrants retain the copyright rights that they have for the pieces they submit, but by entering The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition, each contestant consents to the use of his/her/their name and/or pieces, or parts thereof, in any advertisements, educational materials, corpus research, media and promotional materials or fundraising activities carried out or produced by the Royal Commonwealth Society, and its authorised partners, without further notice or compensation. The Royal Commonwealth Society can publish or decline to publish, use or decline to use, any submitted pieces at the Royal Commonwealth Society’s sole discretion.
  14. The RCS retains the right to change the prize of the competition if circumstances make this necessary. 
  15. The RCS will only be able to publish on our website and in our literature content that is appropriate for a wide and diverse audience, in line with our own policies. Entrants are encouraged to consider this in relation to their use of language when entering the competition. 
  16. The RCS retains the right to alter, amend and/or update these terms and conditions at any point in time.

Value of Award: 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.

How to Enter: Enter online.

Please visit the ‘Terms and Conditions’ page and Competition Webpage before submitting your entry.

Visit Competition Webpage for details

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