The fact that Her Majesty the Queen was performing public and private duties the day before she died, aged 96, is utterly characteristic of her whole life. Aged 21, she declared that ‘my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service’. She asked for God’s help ‘to make good my vow’, and for the prayers of the nation. She did make good that vow. As Andrew Marr commented, ‘There are no reliable records of the Queen … refusing to carry out a duty expected of her’. Her whole life was characterised by unfussy, unflashy, unfailing faithfulness. Her whole life pointed in the same direction, and therefore had integrity and impact. It also made her a reassuring symbol of reliability and dependability.
Her Majesty prayed this prayer as she prepared for her Coronation:
Into thy hands, O Lord, we commend ourselves. Be with us in our going out and our coming in. Strengthen us for the work that thou hast given us to do. Defend us with thy heavenly grace, that we may continue thine for ever and daily increase in thy Holy Spirit more and more, until we come to thy everlasting Kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
She has now come to that Kingdom. We give thanks for her, we mourn with the Royal Family in their grief, and we pray for our new King, that he, too, may have God’s help in all that lies ahead.
The Revd Dr Michael Lloyd, Principal of Wycliffe Hall