Archbishop of Canterbury says it was 'honour of a lifetime' to speak at Queen Elizabeth's funeral

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Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby spoke at Queen Elizabeth's funeral. credit:Bang Showbiz
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby spoke at Queen Elizabeth's funeral. credit:Bang Showbiz

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby says it was "the honour of a lifetime" to speak at Queen Elizabeth's funeral.

The senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England gave the sermon and the commendation during the service at Westminster Abbey in London on Monday (19.0922) in front of a congregation of 2000 which included heads of state from around the world as well as members of the royal family.

He has now spoken out about the moving moment he delivered his sermon, writing in a post on Twitter: "It was the honour of a lifetime, and among its saddest moments, to preach at the State Funeral of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, whose hope and faith in Jesus Christ inspired her servant leadership."

During his poignant sermon, the Archbishop reflected on Queen Elizabeth's "well-kept promise" to serve her country throughout her 70-year reign.

He said: "The pattern for many leaders is to be exalted in life and forgotten after death. "The pattern for all who serve God – famous or obscure, respected or ignored – is that death is the door to glory. Her Late Majesty famously declared in a 21st birthday broadcast that her whole life would be dedicated to serving the Nation and Commonwealth. Rarely has such a promise been so well kept! "Few leaders receive the outpouring of love we have seen. Jesus – who in our reading does not tell his disciples how to follow, but who – said: “I am the way, the truth and the life”. Her Late Majesty’s example was not set through her position or her ambition, but through whom she followed. I know His Majesty shares the same faith and hope in Jesus Christ as his mother; the same sense of service and duty."

He finished his sermon by quoting the queen herself, from the powerful address to the nation she delivered during the Covid-19 lockdown in 2020. He said: "Her Late Majesty’s broadcast during Covid lockdown ended with: 'We will meet again', words of hope from a song of Vera Lynn. Christian hope means certain expectation of something not yet seen. Christ rose from the dead and offers life to all, abundant life now and life with God in eternity. "As the Christmas carol says 'where meek souls will receive him, still the dear Christ enters in.' We will all face the merciful judgement of God: we can all share the Queen’s hope which in life and death inspired her servant leadership. Service in life, hope in death. All who follow the Queen’s example, and inspiration of trust and faith in God, can with her say: 'We will meet again.' "

After the service, Queen Elizabeth's coffin was taken in a procession to Wellington Arch to begin the journey to Windsor where a second service will be held at St George’s Chapel later ahead of her burial alongside her late husband the Duke of Edinburgh.