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The Archbishop of Canterbury is "deeply saddened" after being forced to pull out of a service in honour of Queen Elizabeth's Platinum Jubilee after contracting COVID-19.
Justin Welby - the Church of England's most senior cleric - had been due to deliver a sermon at the service at St Paul's Cathedral in London on Friday (03.06.22) but after testing positive for the virus and also suffering from mild pneumonia, Stephen Cottrell, the Archbishop of York, will speak instead.
The Archbishop of Canterbury had also been due to light a beacon at Lambeth Palace on Thursday (02.06.22) and said he is "deeply saddened" to miss out on the celebrations, but will be praying"for our nation" at such an historic time.
He said in a statement: "I am deeply saddened to be missing the historic celebration of Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
“However, I will be praying for the Queen and giving thanks for her extraordinary 70 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.”
The Archbishop also prayed for anyone continuing to be affected by the pandemic.
He added: "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.”
Justin was diagnosed with pneumonia last Thursday (26.05.22) and continued working with reduced duties, but after developing coronavirus symptoms, a test on Monday (30.05.22) came back positive for the virus and he is now resting at home.
It is not yet known if Queen Elizabeth will be in attendance for the service on Friday, but other members of her family - including the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who are flying into the UK from California for the celebration weekend - are expected to be there.