Monday, 6 February 2012

Queen Elizabeth II

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60 years ago today a 25 year old woman, on holiday with her husband in Africa, received the news that her father had died. She had known since she was about 10 how his death would change her life, and that it was likely that one day these words would be spoken, "The King is dead. Long live the Queen!"


My father died just after my 26th birthday. His death was expected, but still a huge shock. I cannot imagine how the new Queen Elizabeth coped with taking on the weight of her role and duties as monarch at the same time as coping with her private grief.


I am old enough to remember 6 February 1952. I was a young child, but at school. The headmistress called the whole school into the hall for a special assembly and told us the King had died. I remember how shocked and upset she and other teachers seemed to be. She must have said that we now had a Queen, but I don't remember that. What I remember is that she explained we should expect to find that all the local shops were closed when we went home from school - as indeed they were. It was this that brought home to me that something significant had happened.


 She has now reigned for most of my life. Whatever you think about the anachronism of monarchy in a 21st century democracy, it is a cause for celebration this year that Queen Elizabeth II has given such devoted service over 60 years. She is a model of Christian faithfulness and service to others. I thank God for her. You can read Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee Message here.


The Chapter of St Paul's Cathedral, at the direction of The Queen, prepared a prayer for her Diamond Jubilee. It will be used in the Jubilee Thanksgiving Service in St Paul's Cathedral on 5 June. But why wait till then? Her Diamond Jubilee begins today. Here's the prayer:
God of time and eternity,
whose Son reigns as servant, not master;
we give you thanks and praise
that you have blessed this Nation, the Realms and Territories
with Elizabeth
our beloved and glorious queen.
In this year of Jubilee,
grant her your gifts of love and joy and peace
as she continues in faithful obedience to you, her Lord and God
and in devoted service to her lands and peoples,
and those of the Commonwealth,
now and all the days of her life;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.
©Archbishops' Council 2012. Source here.

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