With additional reporting by Sean Frankling, Anglican Journal
Queen Elizabeth II stayed home from a June 3 service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral due to mobility difficulties which have limited her ability to make public appearances, according to the CBC and other news media. The service began the second day in Britain’s four-day celebration of the Queen’s platinum jubilee as monarch of the British Commonwealth, making her the first monarch ever to sit on the throne for 70 years.
While the Queen, 96, herself reportedly watched the church service from home, her son Prince Charles stood in for her at St. Paul’s Cathedral. Charles’s son, Prince Harry and Harry’s wife, Meghan also attended, making their first public appearance in the UK since the two gave up their royal duties and moved to California in 2020.
Events are taking place throughout the year to honour the occasion and the Queen’s service as monarch, supreme governor of the Church of England and head of state of the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Belize, Grenada, Jamaica, Papua New Guinea, Saint Lucia, Solomon Islands, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
A large number of events are scheduled to take place the weekend of June 4-5, which, in the United Kingdom, was extended by two public holidays on June 2 and 3.
In a statement posted on Anglican.ca June 3, Archbishop Linda Nicholls, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, wrote Elizabeth’s long reign had been “a beacon of steadfast commitment” in a time of “constant instability and change.
“As we join with others around the world in celebration of her Platinum Jubilee as Queen of the United Kingdom and head of the Commonwealth, we give thanks for the witness of her dedication to her calling as Queen,” Nicholls wrote.
“It was not a calling she independently chose but inherited, having watched her father have it thrust upon him unexpectedly and growing into the realization that it would one day be hers to fulfil. On her 21st birthday she announced to the commonwealth, ‘I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.’”
Nicholls praised the dedication she said the Queen has shown to her work and family through crises and, occasionally, criticism. The Queen’s strength, she said, was rooted in her faith, citing Elizabeth’s Christmas message from 2002: “I know just how much I rely on my faith to guide me through the good times and the bad. Each day is a new beginning. I know that the only way to live my life is to try to do what is right, to take the long view, to give of my best in all that the day brings, and to put my trust in God … I draw strength from the message of hope in the Christian gospel.”
Wrote Nicholls, “Today we offer prayers of thanksgiving for her witness in faith and her commitment as a servant of the people and of God through these 70 years. May God grant her continued strength and health in the vocation to which she has steadfastly dedicated her life.”
Nicholls’s statement concluded with prayers for the Queen from the Book of Common Prayer and Book of Alternative Services.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, was due to preach at the service of thanksgiving in London’s Saint Paul’s Cathedral on Friday. But on May 30 it was announced that the Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, would take his place while he recovers from COVID-19.
“I am deeply saddened to be missing the historic celebration of Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee,” Welby said. “However, I will be praying for The Queen and giving thanks for her extraordinary seventy years of service to us all. I will also be praying for our nation at this time of celebration and thanksgiving. May The Queen’s example bring us together in unity and care for one another.
“For those attending Friday’s service at St Paul’s Cathedral, and the millions watching on television, I hope this joyful occasion will inspire us with The Queen’s profound commitment to fostering unity and peace among all people – and to promoting care for the natural world that God has given us. Led by the love of Jesus Christ, The Queen has lived her life for the benefit of others: l pray we find inspiration from Her Majesty over the Jubilee weekend and long into the future.
“Meanwhile as we continue to live with coronavirus, I pray too for all those who are still suffering and everyone who continues to mourn loved ones they have lost during the pandemic. May you each know the love and comfort of God.”
“As we prepare to celebrate the first Platinum Jubilee in our nation’s history, may God save The Queen, and bless her with the knowledge of our profound love and gratitude for her service to us all.”