It is with sorrow that I join with you in mourning the death of Her Majesty the Queen at the age of 96, our longest reigning monarch. Over the past 70 years the Queen has been an anchor for our country, embodying our story and being the face of the United Kingdom. She not only served us faithfully throughout this time but has also been Head of the Commonwealth and I know, from growing up in Uganda, something of how much she was held in affection and respect across its 54 nations and 1.2 billion people who represent one third of the global population. In Selby many still recall her visit in 1969 with the late Duke of Edinburgh to Selby Abbey for the Royal Maundy Service, a rare privilege for a parish church and the town.
Bearing the title of Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England, she has been a public Christian, increasingly sharing what this faith meant to her in her annual Christmas Broadcast to the nations. She was the most accessible, though inscrutable, of our monarchs yet her passion for her corgis and horses was very public and something of her playfulness broke through in the Paddington Bear sketch to mark her Platinum Jubilee. A particular family memory I have is when she visited our school in Edinburgh and spoke with my brother about the stool he was making in the woodwork class.
So we pray for the new King Charles and the Royal Family in their grief but we do so confident in the Easter hope of resurrection in which she put her trust. May our Servant Queen rest in peace and rise in glory.
The Rt Revd Dr John Thomson
Bishop of Selby