The Archbishop of York has revealed how he once “healed” the late Queen’s Bentley after it refused to start.
Speaking in Parliament, the Most Rev Stephen Cottrell recounted how the monarch’s vehicle eventually fired up after he performed “a large sign of the cross” over it, earning royal praise.
The senior clergyman, who previously served as the Bishop of Chelmsford, recalled the “slightly scurrilous” anecdote as peers gathered for a second day in the House of Lords to pay their respects to Britain’s longest serving sovereign, following her death aged 96.
Mr Cottrell told the chamber that like other bishops he had tales from visits to the late Queen’s Sandringham estate in Norfolk.
He said: “Stories to tell of doing jigsaws in Sandringham on a Sunday evening, stories of barbeques in the woods in Sandringham in the middle of January.
“I have even got a slightly scurrilous story abut healing the Queen’s car – maybe I will tell it.”
He went on: “I had preached in Sandringham parish church. We were standing outside. The Bentley was there to get the Queen, the Bentley didn’t start. It made that throaty noise that cars make in the middle of winter when they are not going to start.
“Everybody stands there doing nothing. I am expecting a policeman to intervene. Nothing happens.
“Enjoying the theatre of the moment I step forward and made a large sign of the cross over the Queen’s car to the enjoyment of the crowd. There were hundreds of people there – it was the Queen.
“I see the Queen out the corner of my eye looking rather stony faced at this point and I think perhaps I’ve over-stepped the mark.
“Anyway, the driver tries the car again and praise the Lord, the car started.
“The Queen gets in and goes back to Sandringham. I follow in another car.
“When I arrive at Sandringham as I come into lunch, the Queen with a beaming smile says ‘Ah, bishop. It’s the bishop. He healed my car.”
The cleric added: “Two years later when I was greeting her at the west front of Chelmsford Cathedral just as a very grand service was about to start… she took me to one side and said ‘Bishop, nice to see you again.
“I think the car’s all right today, but if I have any problems I will know where to come’.”