The Commonwealth Games involve 53 countries from the six inhabited continents who have a historical connection to the old British Empire. So it simply would not do to hold an opening ceremonies for these Games without Queen Elizabeth II showing up.
Sure enough, the monarch arrived (disappointingly not by parachute) and took her place on the Glasgow, Scotland, stage to read the Queen’s Message from the Commonwealth Baton. The Baton is basically these Games’ version of the Olympic torch, but instead of a flame, it has a note inside.
The plan called for Malaysia’s Prince Imran to take the top off the baton, pull out the note and hand it to Her Majesty. Just one, small problem: The top wouldn’t come off. Try as he might, Prince Imran couldn’t make it happen, and soon decorated cyclist Sir Chris Hoy stepped in to lend a hand, but he also had trouble with it. Which made for kind of an awkward moment, what with the opening ceremonies waiting to move on, not to mention, you know, the queen of England.
Needless to say, Twitter took note:
Whoever designed the Commonwealth Baton can forget any chance of getting an MBE. #CWG2014
— Adam Keyte (@etyek) July 23, 2014
— David Wyllie (@journodave) July 23, 2014
Finally, success! A moment of huge relief for all involved, particularly Hoy, to judge by the look on his face.
Blimey, that was like trying to solve a Rubik’s cube! #phew
— Chris Hoy (@chrishoy) July 23, 2014
— Jamie Ross (@JamieRoss7) July 23, 2014
As it turned out, the queen did crack a smile, after all. Hey, the headline’s not completely wrong — she certainly didn’t seem very amused at first. It was already a tough sports week for Her Majesty, what with her doped-up horse. But all’s well that ends, mercifully, after some very awkward moments.