THE Queen's lifelong dedication to country and Commonwealth was praised by the Archbishop of Canterbury at a service of thanksgiving for the Diamond Jubilee.
Dr Rowan Williams paid tribute to the Queen’s selfless devotion to others and also had words of support for the Duke of Edinburgh, admitted to hospital on Sunday with a bladder infection.
Dr Williams told the congregation of leading figures from the UK and overseas that “our prayers and thoughts are very much with him this morning”.
Dr Williams told those gathered, who included the Prime Minister David Cameron and the Prince of Wales: “I don’t think it’s at all fanciful to say that, in all her public engagements, our Queen has shown a quality of joy in the happiness of others; she has responded with just the generosity St Paul speaks of in showing honour to countless local communities and individuals of every background and class and race.
“She has made her ‘public’ happy and all the signs are that she is herself happy, fulfilled and at home in these encounters. The same, of course, can manifestly be said of Prince Philip; and our prayers and thoughts are very much with him this morning. To declare a lifelong dedication is to take a huge risk, to embark on a costly venture.
“But it is also to respond to the promise of a vision that brings joy.”
Philip’s absence saw changes made to yesterday’s events, with the Queen travelling not alone, but with one her ladies in waiting, Diana Marion, The Lady Farnham. And during the service she did not sit by herself at the head of the congregation, but was joined by the Prince of Wales, who sat on her right.
Dr Williams highlighted how the Queen’s commitment to others had brought her happiness: “But we are marking today the anniversary of one historic and very public act of dedication – a dedication that has endured faithfully, calmly and generously through most of the adult lives of most of us here. We are marking six decades of living proof that public service is possible and that it is a place where happiness can be found.”
Many members of the Royal family attended the service including the Duchess of Cornwall, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.
The service featured the Diamond Choir, made up of children including Elliot Jeffries of Hexham, Northumberland and Ellen MacDonald of Benton, North Tyneside, who sang Call Of Wisdom, composed by Will Todd.
Other music featured included the hymns All People That On Earth Do Dwell, arranged by Vaughan Williams; O Praise Ye The Lord, with music by Hubert Parry, a favourite of Charles; and Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer.