Queen Elizabeth has set the Commonwealth Games baton on its journey around the world.

Queen Elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth

The 90-year-old royal watched as the baton was carried its first few hundred metres by a succession of Olympic stars, including heptathlete Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill, and cycling champion Victoria Pendleton.

The monarch's baton is now well on its journey to Australia's Gold Coast - where the 2018 Commonwealth Games are being held - and is set to make a stop at all 52 of the Commonwealth nations during its 388-day relay which covers more than 140,000 miles.

Inside the baton is a message written by the Queen, which is to be read out during the opening ceremony of the Games in April next year.

During the baton-giving ceremony - which was held on Commonwealth Day (13.03.17) - Australian musician Cody Simpson, who grew up on the Gold Coast, performed a rendition of the unofficial anthem 'I Still Call Australia Home' and dubbed the experience as "surreal".

He said on stage: "This is definitely a first for me and one of the more surreal moments of my life thus far, I can say, and it's a pleasure to be representing the Gold Coast, representing Australia - the Commonwealth Games uniting people through sport and through music today.

"The (Gold) Coast hasn't ever had this kind of major sporting event before. Sydney and Melbourne have, obviously, in the past. I think it's going to really shed light on what a beautiful stretch of coastline it is."

Meanwhile, Queen Elizabeth marked the occasion by promoting "respect and understanding" between the Commonwealth nations, in a message written in the ceremony's order of service.

The message read: "The cornerstones on which peace is founded are, quite simply, respect and understanding for one another. Working together we build peace by defending the dignity of every individual and community.

"By upholding justice and the rule of law and by striving for societies that are fair and offer opportunities for all, we overcome division and find reconciliation, so that the benefits of progress and prosperity may be multiplied and shared.

"As members of the Commonwealth family, we can find much to be thankful for in the inheritances we have received from those who came before us. Through consensus and co-operation, great things have been achieved."