The Archbishop of Canterbury has reflected on the sense of loss the nation feels at it waits for the “final goodbye” to the Queen, in a special radio broadcast.
On BBC Radio 4 on Sunday evening, the Most Rev Justin Welby said prayers for those who “wake, or work, or watch or weep” as “we move into the final watches of the night”, and paid tribute to the Queen’s humanity.
The archbishop, who will deliver the sermon at the Queen’s state funeral on Monday, spoke of those involved in the preparations, or who were caring for others, because “life goes on on”.
In his meditation for the Queen, broadcast shortly after the national minute’s silence at 8pm, the archbishop said: “Tonight we move into the final watches of the night, as we wait for tomorrow’s final goodbye.
“There will be many tonight who reflect ahead of tomorrow; there will be many already on duty, preparing.
“There will be many who work tonight, caring for others, because life goes on, and hospitals and care homes and many other parts of our life still need attending to.
“There will be many who watch loved ones in pain or illness, and many who weep for those they have lost, or are afraid of losing.
“For those who wake, or work, or watch or weep tonight, we know and ask that God watches with them.”
He said the Queen was not “simply a concept or an idea of the British state”, but a person who represented the dreams of all.
He added: “She reflected our humanity back to us: she belonged to a complex family whom she loved; she worked and strove to discharge her duties to the best of her abilities.”