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TODAY   |  March 11, 2013

Queen Elizabeth signs charter promoting equality

The queen has signed her name on a document that stresses equality throughout the 54 countries in the Commonwealth of Nations, which she heads, accompanied by a speech about placing “emphasis on including everyone.” NBC’s Michelle Kosinski reports.

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>>> is in the news as she gets ready to sign a charter seen as a first time show of support for both women's and gay rights in that country. michelle kosinski is outside buckingham palace . michelle, good morning.

>> reporter: hi, savannah. this isn't a bold statement as we might be used to seeing one and the palace insists the queen is apolitical in this. what she is doing is publicly assigning a new charter agreed to by the 54 countries of the commonwealth of nations and in that is language against discrimination of all kinds. the queen just out of the hospital recovering from a stomach infection, is making headlines again, this time signing a document that stresses equality throughout the commonwealth of nations she heads which includes about a third of the world's population. what the new charter says is this, "we are implacably opposed to all forms of discrimination, whether rooted in gender, race, color, creed, political beliefs or other grounds." there is no specific reference to homosexuality but this is a deal in 54 nations among which 41 have harsh penalties in gay relationships including death in pakistan and nigeria. the queen has also recorded a speech with her brand of gentle reference to equality.

>> our shared values of these democracy, development, justice and human rights mean that we place special emphasis on including everyone in this goal, especially those who are vulnerable.

>> saying that we cannot tolerate in the 21st century any form of discrimination, the fact that the queen is the head of the commonwealth is making that statement by signing a charter speaks volumes.

>> reporter: and of course this say pivotal year for gender equality within the royal family as the queen and commonwealth agreed for the first time in 1,000 years the rules of concession will agree if william and kate have a baby girl she will retain her right to the throne. the palace said the queen will not attend the ceremony for the signing today at westminster abbey but did not say why. the language is somewhat ambiguous. its value will be up to each of the nations involved but many see this as a clear statement to which the queen is signing her name. matt?

>> michelle kosinski in london this