Queen Elizabeth II, The Servant Queen
The servant Queen
At the heart of the Jubilee celebrations will be the theme of ‘service and duty’, attributes which have been Queen Elizabeth II‘s motivation and inspiration for what she has achieved over the past 70 years. Service and duty are rooted in the Christian Faith, so it is no surprise to learn that the Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England has a simple but deep and firm faith. She follows the teaching of Jesus and tries to emulate his approach to life.
That faith sustained her from a young age. In her first Christmas broadcast in 1952 she included this prayer: ‘Pray for me…that God may give me the strength to carry out the solemn promises I shall be making and that I may faithfully serve Him and you all the days of my life.’
The Christmas broadcasts to the Commonwealth are the only speeches she writes herself. She frequently refers to Jesus Christ as, for example she did, at great length in 2000. After a summary of Jesus’ life, suffering, death and resurrection she speaks powerfully of the importance of spirituality in all our lives: ‘ Whether we believe in God or not, I think most of us have a sense of the spiritual, that recognition of a deeper meaning and purpose in our lives, and I believe that this sense flourishes despite the pressures of our world.
The Queen’s favourite bible story is the Good Samaritan and she has used it in a number of Christmas broadcasts. The most recent was in 2020 where she spoke movingly about the difficult times of the pandemic. She said that what many people want at Christmas is ‘a simple hug or a squeeze of the hand, but even in the darkest night there is hope in the new dawn.’ The man who crossed the road to help someone in need was of another faith and from another culture. When we are alone, depressed or feeling unloved a simple act of love, a touch or a word, can lift us from despair to hope.
That is what Jesus brought to a struggling people. He said to his disciples that he had come to serve, not to be served. In her own straight forward way the Queen shows she can rise above formality and protocol to be a light in the darkness of our world.
We include the recording of Her Majesty’s Crowning Ceremony to accompany this piece:
Many thanks to Neil for writing a guest article to help us mark Her Majesty’s Jubilee