Commonwealth Games starts with epic opening ceremony

The 21st Commonwealth Games are officially under way after a spectacular opening ceremony on the Gold Coast.

More than 4,500 athletes from 71 nations and territories will be competing for 275 gold medals over the 11 days of competition.

A crowd of 35,000 packed into the Carrara Stadium to witness the opening of the games on Wednesday evening.

Among the many highlights of what was a typically Australian night were a message from Queen Elizabeth II, a skit on the local ‘beach towel change room’, a celebration of Indigenous culture, musical performances from Christine Anu, Delta Goodrem and Ricki-Lee to name but a few of the artists present, and a bizarre interaction between Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbul and Prince Charles where the former was seen animatedly showing the latter something on his phone.

However, it wasn’t all glitz and glamour in Queensland.

There were protests outside the stadium by indigenous rights activists who earlier disrupted the Queen’s baton relay as it made its way to the stadium.

The first gold medal of the Games will be awarded in women’s triathlon on Thursday.