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The Queen ‘reflected our humanity back to us’ says Archbishop Welby

19 September 2022

Nation holds one minute’s silence on the eve of the funeral


Members of the public observe the national minute’s silence in memory of Queen Elizabeth II in Green Park, outside Buckingham Palace, on Sunday night

Members of the public observe the national minute’s silence in memory of Queen Elizabeth II in Green Park, outside Buckingham Palace, on Sunday night

THE Queen’s death has brought the nation face to face with our “human fragility and mortality”, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said. He was delivering a meditation broadcast after the national one minute’s silence on Sunday, the eve of the late monarch’s funeral.

The exhortation of St Paul in Ephesians, to “Lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called” was “deeply appropriate” for the Queen, Archbishop Welby said on BBC Radio 4.

Her calling had not only been as a monarch, but firstly as a disciple of God. “She spoke herself, in her Christmas messages, of the importance of her faith in guiding how she chose to be a monarch,” he said.

“In this effort to understand her specific calling as Queen in light of her calling as a follower of Christ, she embodies the calling of every human person.

“She was not simply a concept or an idea of the British State. She was a person, representing all the persons who make up this country, and their dreams and efforts towards the common good.

“She reflected our humanity back to us: she belonged to a complex family whom she loved; she worked and strove to discharge her duties to the best of her abilities; she was bereaved and grieved for those she loved; she responded to life around her, to people and events; and over time, she came to embody the frailty that comes with age.

“Tonight, she brings us face to face with the reality of human fragility and mortality.”

The Archbishop urged listeners to see themselves “with our fragility and fears, as equally loved by God, who watches over us”.

In his meditation, which included prayers, songs, and a psalm, he recalled the tradition of holding a wake on the night before a funeral. The queue to file past the coffin of the late Queen lying in state in Westminster Hall was an “extended wake”, he said. He also remembered people who were on duty, preparing for the funeral.

In conclusion, Archbishop Welby told listeners that many people would be continuing to work, or to care for others, “because life goes on” — while others would be experiencing their own grief.

“For those who wake, or work, or watch or weep tonight, we know and ask that God watches with them,” he said.

The BBC said that the meditation would “prepare the nation for the sense of bereavement and loss so many will feel as they come to terms with this seismic change in our national life”.

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