Queen Elizabeth II, the monarch of the United Kingdom who was a devout Christian, has passed away.
Throughout her rule of seven decades, she made many references to the significance of her own personal religion.
Queen Elizabeth II was the monarch who ruled Britain the longest. She died at the age of 96.
During her long, historic reign, Queen Elizabeth II often talked about her personal Christian faith. When the Queen gave her first Christmas Address in 1952, she asked for prayers for her upcoming coronation. This was a tradition started by her grandfather, King George V.
“I want to ask you all, whatever of your religion, to pray for me on that day, to pray that God may grant me wisdom and strength to carry out the serious pledges I shall be making, and that I may faithfully serve Him and you all the days of my life,” she added.
For more than seven decades after that Christmas, as one of the world’s most recognizable and celebrated leaders, the Queen demonstrated how to keep one’s Christian faith personal, private, inclusive, and compassionate while serving in a global, public role under intense scrutiny from virtually every sector.
Queen Elizabeth II inherited ecclesiastical obligations as Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England, titles that have been conferred on the reigning British monarch since Henry VIII’s renunciation of the Papacy in 1534. Her Majesty swore an oath to “keep and safeguard inviolably the settlement of the Church of England, and the doctrine, worship, discipline, and government thereof, as by law established in England” during her coronation in 1953.
Her responsibilities included selecting archbishops, bishops, and deans of the Church of England on the prime minister’s advice. She was the first sovereign to personally inaugurate and address the church’s General Synod in 1970, a tradition she followed every five years following diocese elections.
Three weeks after her coronation, the Queen promised to uphold the Church of Scotland, fulfilling her obligation to “preserve the settlement of the true Protestant faith as established by the laws formed in Scotland.” The Presbyterian Church of Scotland accepts solely Jesus Christ as “King and Head of the Church,” which results in Her Majesty’s absence of formal title and participation as a regular member.
More than just tradition
However, the Queen’s religion was more than just courteous adherence to past precedent. Throughout her reign, she emphasized the significance of her faith and encouraged her subjects to do the same.
“For me, Christ’s teachings and my own personal accountability before God give a framework within which I attempt to govern my life,” she stated in 2000. “I, like so many of you, have found enormous solace in Christ’s teachings and example through tough times.”
With the deaths of her sister, Princess Margaret, and the Queen Mother in 2002, the Queen had a difficult year of personal bereavement. That year, in her annual Christmas message, she spoke about how her religion had sustained her.
“I know how much I rely on my own religion to lead me through good and terrible times,” she remarked. “Every day is a fresh start.” I know that the only way to live my life is to attempt to do what is right, to take the long view, to give my all in all that the day brings, and to trust in God.”
The Queen has repeatedly used her power to recognize and celebrate religious plurality and tolerance in the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth of Nations, and across the world. The issue of interfaith harmony and respectful tolerance was frequently emphasized in Her Majesty’s Christmas and Commonwealth Day remarks. At the request of the Queen and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, leaders of other religions and denominations routinely attended royal festivities, including weddings and thanksgiving services.
The Queen attended a multifaith event at Lambeth Palace in 2012 to commemorate her Diamond Jubilee, which was sponsored by the Archbishop of Canterbury and featured the leaders of eight religions in the United Kingdom, including Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, and Hinduism. “Faith plays a significant part in the identity of millions of people, offering not just a system of belief but also a sense of belonging,” the Queen remarked during the ceremony. It can serve as a catalyst for societal change. Indeed, religious organizations have a long history of assisting those in greatest need, including the ill, the old, the lonely, and the impoverished. They serve as a reminder of our larger duties.”
The Three-Religions Forum, an organization committed to developing understanding and enduring partnerships amongst people of all faiths and beliefs, honored the Queen’s work in 2007. It presented Her Majesty with the Sternberg Interfaith Gold Medallion, which is given to persons who have contributed to the promotion of peace and tolerance among people of different religions.
Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor, born on April 21, 1926, was the first child of the Duke and Duchess of York and the first granddaughter of the reigning monarch, King George V, who reputedly adored the intelligent, well-behaved youngster known by family as Lilibet. Elizabeth’s father, King George VI, ascended to the throne in 1936 after his brother, King Edward VIII, abdicated in order to marry divorcee Wallis Simpson.
Elizabeth was schooled privately and served in the Auxiliary Territorial Service during World War II as the prospective successor. She married Philip Mountbatten, a member of the Greek and Danish royal families, in 1947. Their marriage lasted 73 years until his death in 2021, and they had four children: Charles, Prince of Wales (heir apparent), Anne, Princess Royal, Andrew, Duke of York, and Edward, Earl of Wessex. The Queen is survived by eight grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren, in addition to her children.
The Queen has routinely referenced Scripture allusions from the commencement of her reign, notably in her annual Christmas broadcasts.
“To what better source of inspiration and wisdom can we turn than the incorruptible truth found in this treasure house, the Bible?” she wondered.
Her Majesty stated in her 2016 address, “Billions of people today follow Christ’s message and find in him the guiding light for their life.” I am one of them because Christ’s example teaches me the importance of doing tiny things with tremendous love, whatever they do and whatever they believe.”
Billy Graham’s relationship
In his autobiography, Just As I Am, her friend and confidant Billy Graham attested to the Queen’s passion for the Bible as well as the power and depth of her Christian faith.
“No one in the United Kingdom has been more gracious to us than Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II,” Graham wrote. “I’ve spent almost every occasion with her in a friendly, informal atmosphere, such as a luncheon or supper, alone or with a few family members or other close acquaintances.”
They seldom promoted their encounters or capitalized on their acquaintance professionally, but the two had a friendship that lasted more than 60 years until Graham’s death in 2018. “I always found her highly interested in the Bible and its message,” he wrote.
Because of her love of the Bible and its gospel message, the Queen agreed to participate in the publishing of a special book to mark her 90th birthday. This exposition of Her Majesty’s Christian religion, titled The Servant Queen and the King She Serves and coauthored by Catherine Butcher and Mark Greene, was produced by Bible Society UK, for whom the Queen serves as patron, along with HOPE and the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity.
Her Majesty penned the preface herself, thanking readers for their prayers and well wishes. “I have been—and continue to be—extremely grateful to… God for His unwavering love.” “I have witnessed His fidelity,” she stated.
Prior to the Queen’s birthday in 2016, the book was sent to hundreds of churches around the United Kingdom and numerous Commonwealth nations. The Bible Society had to produce an additional 150,000 volumes to keep up with demand.
Keeping her promise
Her Majesty the Queen was the calm that continued on, sustaining her kingdom and the Commonwealth amid turbulent eras of historical upheaval and technical growth. She was half princess and part pope, both guardian and great-grandmother, diplomat and disciple.
“Ultimately, monarchy gestures beyond itself to the majesty of God,” stated Ian Bradley, professor of divinity at the University of St Andrews. “It fosters the divinely endowed human qualities of awe, loyalty, and adoration.” It gets its actual approval and authority from above, not from below.”
Queen Elizabeth II was one of these monarchs. Her Majesty acknowledged her personal trust in God and belief in Christ as her anchor amid the various storms, both public and private, that she faced as she bridged the twentieth and twenty-first century, modernity and postmodernity. To the end, she lived honorably and served those assigned to her care, fulfilling her solemn coronation vows to God.