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Commonwealth Games 2022 Opening ceremony live time Australia, TV, Royal Family, entertainment

Australia's flag-bearers for the opening ceremony of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
Australia’s flag-bearers for the opening ceremony of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.

They stole the show during the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations and the Cambridge youngsters, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis are sure to do the same during the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

In a majestic blitz of the Games, for which their uncle, Prince Edward is the vice-patron, these Games are on track to be spot-a-royal event.

Prince Charles will open the Games in Birmingham on behalf of the Queen, reading the message that Her Majesty had penned last year and sent around the 72 nations and territories of the Commonwealth on the Queen’s Baton Relay.

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The heir to the throne will be accompanied by his wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, as well as Edward, the Earl of Wessex and his wife Sophie, the Countess of Wessex in the VIP section of Alexander Stadium for the opening, which will feature Birmingham locals, pop stars Duran Duran as a headline act.

The Queen, 96, has already travelled to Balmoral Castle for her summer break and will be watching the Games events on television, palace insiders say.

3:10AM AEST: A RIGHT ROYAL COMPETITION

Princess Anne and her husband Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, are on track to visit athletes and watch the Games’ competitions including the rugby. Anne is the patron for Scotland rugby, a position she has held since 1986, and it would be no surprise if William, the patron of the Welsh Rugby Union also pops in to watch some of the Rugby Sevens action with children in tow.

Kensington Palace has confirmed that the Cambridges will attend the Games next Tuesday, August 2.

Given that Anne’s son-in-law, Mike Tindall is a former England rugby international, there is speculation that Zara and Mike may also support the Games with their children Mia, seven, and Lena, four, as well as one-year-old son Lucas. It is unclear if Anne’s other grandchildren Peter Phillips’ daughters Savannah, 11, and Isla, 10, will turn up.

Third in line to the throne George, eight, has already been treated to attending the Wimbledon final, where his mother Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, had to cover his ears when Australian bad boy Nick Kyrgios swore at his entourage sitting nearby to the Royal Box.

The home Games in Birmingham will give William and Kate an opportunity to also treat Charlotte and Louis to some top class action.

However the most enthusiastic Games supporter is Edward, who has already been to Birmingham three times to check on Games’ preparations and has attended every Commonwealth Games since Edinburgh in 1986.

Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales reacts as he speaks with a performer
Britain’s Prince Charles, Prince of Wales reacts as he speaks with a performer

2AM AEST: WHO WILL PERFORM?

Birmingham is set to welcome 72 teams and some 6,500 athletes ahead of the 2022 Commonwealth Games with the event set to be officially opened at Friday’s (AEST) Opening Ceremony.

Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is one of the masterminds behind the show with many saying they believe the three-and-a-half hour show will rival London 2012.

Organisers predict 1.5 billion people will tune into the Opening Ceremony which will take place at Alexander Stadium from 4am AEST Friday.

“A lot of opening ceremonies are visually spectacular but emotionally quite timid, I think,” Knight told the BBC. “But this one is very emotional.

“It’s got a story to tell. It’s about the people of Birmingham. So it’s the story of what the city has achieved, and how it’s achieved it by the people that are here.

“It feels like it’s Birmingham’s turn to shine – and this show certainly shines.”

While information is being kept secret, we do know there will be performances from Duran Duran and Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi to saxophonist Soweto Kinch and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO).

AUSTRALIA’S COMM GAMES FLAG-BEARERS REVEALED

Australia’s flag-bearers for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games opening ceremony, to be held in the early morning this Friday, Australian time, will be the one of the most capped Commonwealth Games athletes, Toowoomba’s squash player Rachael Grinham, and the highly successful men’s hockey captain Eddie Ockenden from Tasmania.

The selection of Grinham, 45, is obvious: she has been one of the stalwarts of the Australian Commonwealth Games team for the past five editions, winning a silver medal at the 1998 Kuala Lumpur Games, pairing with her sister Natalie for team gold at the Melbourne Games and has been one of Australia’s top squash players on the world circuit. She only missed the Delhi Games because of injury.

Team Scotland has claimed that their female flag bearer badminton stalwart Kirsty Gilmour is the first gay athlete to be given the honour, but Grinham, from Toowoomba, came out as gay more than five years ago, at the time saying it was to “if we can help others, then it’s worth doing”.

Grinham was in shock when told of the flag honour, by Australian Team Chef de Mission, Petria Thomas in the presence of Governor-General, David Hurley and Linda Hurley and in front of over 300 team members inside the Birmingham University Athletes Village.

She was especially chuffed as the Commonwealth Games is the biggest international multi sport event that squash can be part of.

Squash player Rachael Grinham receiving her uniform for Comm Games at Trinity Lutheran College, Ashmore. Photo by Richard Gosling
Squash player Rachael Grinham receiving her uniform for Comm Games at Trinity Lutheran College, Ashmore. Photo by Richard Gosling

“It has been a bit surreal when I do think I am here for the sixth time,’’ she said, adding that in the previous opening ceremonies “we are never up the front, I am the little one as well. (It will be) lucky if I am seen”.

However the Australian selectors have bypassed another female athlete who has also been at five previous Games, the table tennis player Jian Fang Lay, of Victoria.

Lay has represented Australia at six Olympic Games and she has represented Australia at every Games since the sport was first held at Manchester 2002, winning seven medals. Lay was born in Wenzhou, China, and arrived in Australia in 1994 with her husband and training partner Jorge Lay.

Commonwealth and Olympic Games team stalwart Jian Fang Lay was not nominated as a flag bearer. Picture: Steph Chambers/Getty Images
Commonwealth and Olympic Games team stalwart Jian Fang Lay was not nominated as a flag bearer. Picture: Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Thomas said Lay had not been nominated for the role.

“She’s obviously very focused on on her competition, and I’m not sure how, how well, it would have sat with her to have the attention that the flag bearers garner.”

She said she didn’t factor that hockey was getting the honour in successive Games.

“You look at the achievements, the longevity, the way that they carry themselves, the respect that they have within the team. So that was the factors. It wasn’t really about what sport they came from. It’s the quality of the people.”

Thomas decided to give the flag raising honour to Ockenden – the second games in succession that the mens hockey captain has been the honour.

Eddie Ockenden in action for Australia at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. Picture: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images
Eddie Ockenden in action for Australia at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. Picture: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

His roommate at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, Kookaburras captain Mark Knowles was flag bearer at the Gold Coast Games in 2018.

Ockenden, a three-time Commonwealth Games gold medal winner, commented that he felt he had impostor syndrome. “Am I worthy to lead such a fantastic team, can I do a good job?,” he said, adding, “ I am sure I will be fine, it is really cool to be part of it.’’

Thomas said sports federations had submitted 25 nominations to be considered for the honour.

“These decisions are not just based on how many Games they have been too – they have to be model athletes and both Eddie and Rachael certainly tick that box,’’ she said.

“Although we don’t actually have team captains, they do become our unofficial team leaders so it is a great honour.

“And how thankful are we that we get the opportunity to have a male and a female to carry the flag together.

“It is never an easy decision and this one was made in consultation with my fellow team executive members.

“It’s a massive honour to carry the flag.”

More than 200 of the 750 strong team of athletes and officials will march in the ceremony and in a sudden turnaround of the extra strict Australian team rules, masks won’t have to be worn.

Thomas said: “for that special moment it willl be masks off. We’re really focusing on wearing masks indoors and while we’re moving around in a crowded sort of space, even outdoors, but given given the moment we will be masks off, if people want to.”

As revealed earlier this week by NewsCorp, athletes who have covid will be allowed to compete in the Games competition if cleared by the team doctor. Thomas said “our goal is to make sure that we can get people to the start line”.

She added: “ this this is a big moment in an athlete’s life and to to be able to potentially miss out because of something like COVID would be heartbreaking. No stone has been unturned for trying to get the athletes to the start line and I commend the Organising Committee for that approach.”

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