A life of service


The latest in the Penguin Monarchs series “Elizabeth II: The Steadfast”, by Douglas Hurd, was published last week, just ahead of the day when The Queen will have reigned for longer than her great-great grandmother Queen Victoria (who was on the throne for 63 years and 216 days) and will become the longest-reigning Monarch in British history. The preface, written by HRH Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (you can read the full text at this link), reflects on his grandmother The Queen’s commitment to a life of public service:

“… we find ourselves in a world that has changed dramatically, almost beyond recognition to the world that The Queen was born into, but where the role of charity, family, duty and compassion perseveres.

“I think I speak for my generation when I say that the example and continuity provided by The Queen is not only very rare among leaders but a great source of pride and reassurance.

“Time and again, quietly and modestly, The Queen has shown us all that we can confidently embrace the future without compromising the things that are important.”

“All of us who will inherit the legacy of my grandmother’s reign and generation need to do all we can to celebrate and learn from her story.”

This prayer, which has been circulated to mark Wednesday 9 September, is a commission from the Archbishop of Canterbury:

Almighty God, whose Son Jesus Christ exchanged the glory of a heavenly throne for the form of a servant, we thank you that you have given Elizabeth our Queen a heart to serve her people, and have kept her devoted in this service beyond all who were before her: encourage us by her example to serve one another, and to seek the common good, until you call us all to reign with Christ in your eternal kingdom. Amen.