The Christian faith of the Queen of England

Article originally published during the Platinum Jubilee of Elizabeth II last June. The Queen died on Thursday September 8 at the age of 96. The opportunity to evoke the Christian faith of the monarch.

From June 2 to 5, the British celebrated the platinum jubilee, it is about the seventy years of reign of Elizabeth II who became queen on February 6, 1952 and was crowned on June 2, 1953. The occasion to evoke the Christian faith of the monarch, because the jubilees are also religious events which come to underline the role of the monarchy in the religion in the United Kingdom. 

Four days of celebrations are taking place across the UK from June 2-5 to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee of Elizabeth II, marking her 70 years of reign. This is a historic event since no British monarch has ever achieved such longevity on the throne.

On the occasion of this festive weekend, two British journalists, Philip Williamson for The Conversation and Catherine Pepinster in First Christianity looked at the Queen's faith and the importance of religion to the monarchy. The Christian media Christian today also dedicated several publications to the "inspiring" faith of Elizabeth II.

“Religion is very important to the British monarchy. For the royal family, it is a matter of personal belief, expressed in regular Christian worship,” notes Philip Williamson, a professor at Durham University.

According to Catherine Pepinster, the Queen's faith was "particularly influenced by her grandfather, George V". She describes a "Bible-based" belief.

“Those who know Elizabeth II say that she too loves her Bible and her prayer book. »

A personal faith

The most striking example of the expression of the sovereign's personal faith appears in her Christmas broadcasts, which each year are a little more marked by her Christian beliefs.

In her first Christmas message in 1952, a few months before her coronation, Elizabeth had already encouraged those who listened to her to pray for her:

“I want to ask all of you, regardless of your religion, to pray for me on this day – to pray that God will give me wisdom and strength to fulfill the solemn promises that I will make, and to be able to serve him faithfully, as well as you, all the days of my life. »

But it was at Christmas 2000 that we saw a turning point. While addressing the nation, the Queen recalled that this celebration celebrates the birthday of "Jesus Christ", stressing that this was "the true anniversary of the millennium".

She went on to speak openly about her own faith, talking about the teachings of Christ and the impact they had in her life.

“For me, the teachings of Christ and my own personal responsibility before God provide a framework within which I try to live my life. Like many of you, I have drawn great comfort in difficult times from the words and example of Christ. »

Since that day, the Queen's traditional Christmas message has "been marked by a desire to express her Christian convictions", underlines Catherine Pepinster.

Jubilees, religious festivals

Elizabeth II's Christian commitment is also a "constitutional requirement", because as Philip Williamson reminds us, "the monarch is the supreme governor of the Church of England". Historically, the monarchy is indeed an institution of the Church of England and coronations take place in Anglican churches.

It is also important to note that jubilees are an opportunity to Religious holidays which go far beyond the Anglican Church.

“For each jubilee, all churches have also held special local services across the UK, including 'united services', bringing together members of different churches. »

In fact, the royal jubilees were "milestones in the development of cooperation between British churches", explains The Conversation.

The queen also tried to encourage good relations between different faiths, outside of Christianity. Thus, for the jubilees of 2002 and 2012, “representatives of the religions of the world attended national religious services”.

In an article titled "5 Ways the Queen's Life and Faith Inspire Me" published in Christian today, journalist Claire Musters claims that while we don't know the "details of the Queen's personal life", she shared her faith with Prince Philip.

"I hope and pray that she always has Christian support near her", continues the British journalist, recalling that "we all need this support as the body of Christ".

Last February, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin welby, had also praised the Christian faith of the queen and "her faithful testimony to Jesus Christ". The spiritual leader of the Anglican Church then invited Christians to pray that God “continue to strengthen and guide” Elizabeth II and that she be blessed “with good health and wisdom”.

Camille Westphal Perrier

Image credit: Shutterstock / McCarthy's PhotoWorks

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