Christian leaders from across the UK share their fond memories of Queen Elizabeth II
I came away thinking: There is someone who has no fear of death, has hope in the future, knows the rock on which she stands, and that gives her strength.
Most Rev Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, on his last meeting with Her Late Majesty the Queen
When she was leaving the church, she turned and looked at me. And she smiled and nodded. It was just a brief moment; for me, it was like I received a blessing from her. That’s all she did. Nothing more need be said.
Most Rev Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop and Primate of The Episcopal Church, remembers his encounter with the Queen at the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex
Her life was patterned from scripture; she wanted to give. Even at her 90th year she was still working so many hours. I know, too, it was her faith that gave her strength during those difficult years of family life.
Rt Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin, chaplain to the Queen and Bishop of Dover
One of our trustees met with Her Majesty regularly for Bible study and prayer while she was in residence at Buckingham Palace. It was a privilege for SASRA to be able to encourage the Queen in her strong Christian faith.
Dr Andrew Hill, executive director of Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Scripture Readers Association (SASRA)
She was a working woman who never stopped really. I don’t think she saw it as work, as such. Her life has been very much surrounded by prayer – her own – but also the prayers of all of us for her…That would have been very important for her as part of the sustenance of her ability to keep going.
Rev Canon Ann Easter, former chaplain to the Queen, and one of the first female ordinands
Although it was not often seen in public, I can, from my dealings with the Queen, confirm that she had a very good sense of humour. In fact, it is a sense of humour, particularly about oneself, that often saves many of us from being seduced and destroyed by the roles we take on.
Most Rev Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York
If you’ve struggled with women being capable of leading effectively, perhaps look at the life of the Queen. 70 years of overseeing the Church of England, and giving oversight to more than just one country. She endured much and finished well. A true example to all.
Christy Wimber, international author, speaker and former church pastor
The Queen’s commitment to service through being alongside her people was poignantly evident at that most personal of occasions, the funeral of her husband, Prince Philip. As it took place during Covid restrictions, the Queen sat masked and alone…In doing so, she offered solidarity with her people – and in her vulnerability, displayed an authenticity that was strikingly powerful, all the more so when it was later discovered that the night before the funeral, there was an unlawful gathering in Downing Street, where those same restrictions were disregarded.
Catherine Pepinster, journalist and author
When I went to see the Queen in 2018 to ask permission to step down as archbishop, I went with a huge burden of matters that one day may be revealed, and I knelt down and I said: ‘Your Majesty, please pray for me.’ I put my hands together and she put hers outside mine and we were silent for three minutes. And at the end she said: “Amen!” When I got up, the burden had lifted. That’s the kind of queen we had. Her life was so rooted in Christ that she was able to transmit that same power; that love, that grace.
The Right Rev and the Rt Hon Lord Sentamu, former Archbishop of York
Her contribution to the life of our nations, the commonwealth, and beyond will be remembered with gratitude for generations to come. She inspired respect from across the political spectrum and from monarchists and republicans alike. The United Reformed Church has always been aware that, as each General Assembly presents a loyal address to the throne, we have been addressing a fellow baptised sister in Christ. We give thanks for her life and uphold in prayer all who mourn for her.
Rev Dr John Bradbury, United Reformed Church General Secretary
Faithfulness was, of course, the hallmark of her reign. At a time when words are cheap, it’s truly extraordinary that Elizabeth II honoured every promise she made. Perhaps this ‘long obedience in the same direction’ was one of the qualities that made the ceremonial ruler of our nations also the queen of our hearts.
Pete Greig, author and founder of 24-7 Prayer
We have lost not just our Queen, but a sister in Christ. I’ve heard her described as ‘the nation’s greatest evangelist’ because of the warm and easy way in which she spoke of her own personal faith – and of course she had an advantage that most evangelists can only dream of, in that she was able to speak into most people’s living rooms for one day every year!
Rev Kate Wharton, assistant national leader, New Wine
Most of us have not known life without The Queen. She has been this nation’s unerring heartbeat through times of progress, joy and celebration, as well as in much darker and more difficult seasons… She gave her allegiance to God before anyone gave their allegiance to her. The depth, breadth and generosity of Her Majesty’s self-giving in service was an extraordinary gift. I am certain it has gladdened God’s heart.
Rt Rev and Rt Hon Dame Sarah Mullally, Bishop of London
My enduring memory of the Queen is as someone who had a keen interest in the events that she attended. I remember when she travelled to Belfast and visited the studios that produced Game of Thrones. I recall her sense of humour shining through, because when she stood before the throne in the production area, someone asked her if she would like to try it out and she said: ‘Oh, it would not be protocol for one to sit on someone else’s throne.’
Naomi Long MLA, minister of justice for the Northern Ireland Assembly
What an amazing role model to many; an inspiring faith. And what an incredible monarch who has done such a great job in such difficult circumstances at times. In this moment we remember the family – we allow ourselves to mourn as well – but we also remember her enduring faith, that though she may rest in peace, she will most certainly rise in glory.
Gavin Calver, chief executive of the Evangelical Alliance