Jubilee celebrations in U.K. end with thanksgiving service
(ENInews) Four days of celebration in the U.K. of Queen Elizabeth II’s 60 years on the throne ended on 5 June with a service of thanksgiving at London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral. Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams cited St. Paul as he praised the Queen’s “lifelong dedication” to the nation and its people.
“I don’t think it at all fanciful to say,” said Williams, “that in all her public engagements, our Queen has shown a quality of joy in the happiness of others. She has responded with the generosity St. Paul speaks of in showing honor to countless communities and individuals of every background and class and race.”
More than 1,000 invited worshippers, including members of the royal family, religious leaders, politicians and representatives of the 54 nations in the British Commonwealth, attended the service.
Several days before the celebration, Lord Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, wrote in The Times newspaper that in her religious role, the Queen is head of the Church of England but that in her civil role “she cares for all her subjects and no one is better at making everyone she meets feel valued.”
Williams also referred to the 86-year-old queen’s husband, Prince Philip, who is 90 and is in the hospital with a bladder infection, saying “our prayers and thoughts are very much with him this morning.” The Queen’s son and heir, Prince Charles, and his sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, were at the cathedral.
The service also featured readers of prayers from youth groups from around the Commonwealth and the Diamond Choir, made up of children from across the nation. Prime Minister David Cameron read a lesson from the New Testament.
The Diamond Jubilee events included a parade on 3 June of 1,000 boats on the Thames River that was reviewed by the Queen and Prince Philip before he became ill and the lighting of 4,200 beacons in the U.K. and Commonwealth countries. On 4 June, a rock concert took place outside Buckingham Palace where 60,000 people, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, sang along to Beatles songs played by Paul McCartney.
After the thanksgiving service, the Queen, wearing a silk mint green outfit, appeared with the royal family on the balcony at Buckingham Palace as more than 70,000 people on The Mall sang “God Save the Queen” and cheered. World War II-vintage airplanes and the aeronautical acrobatic team The Red Arrows performed a military fly-over.
Services were held throughout the Commonwealth to mark the Jubilee. In Australia, the Dean of St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Sydney, Philip Jensen, referred to her as “our God-given queen” and said that “unlike some monarchs in some periods of our history, our Queen has been a model of all that is best in constitutional monarchy.”