The Queen ‘never lost hope’ says the Archbishop of Canterbury

·5-min read
Queen Elizabeth II receives the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby at Windsor Castle (Andrew Matthews/PA) (PA Wire)
Queen Elizabeth II receives the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby at Windsor Castle (Andrew Matthews/PA) (PA Wire)

The Queen “never lost hope” even in the bad moments in her life, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said.

The Church of England leader praised the late Monarch’s devotion to public service.

He said many people around the UK and the world will feel that “part of our lives we’ve taken for granted as being permanent is no longer there”.

Faith leaders from around the world have paid tribute to the Queen.

This includes the Dalai Lama who expressed his “deep sadness” over the death of the Queen in a letter to King Charles III.

In England, churches are being urged to toll their bells across England on Friday to mark the death of the Queen.

The Church of England has sent out guidance to parish churches, chapels and cathedrals encouraging them to toll their bells or open for prayer or special services following the announcement from Buckingham Palace.

Guidance from the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers recommends tolling muffled bells for one hour from noon on Friday.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby told BBC Breakfast: “The Queen constantly showed us the meaning of life – she was joyful, she was humorous, her life was full.

“But she never, even in bad moments, lost hope.

“I obviously spoke to her after the death of the Duke of Edinburgh, and spent some time with her and there was just a solidity of hope in her life.”

He added: “It feels as though for so many people around the world, especially in the UK, that a part of our lives we’ve taken for granted as being permanent is no longer there.

“And in that sense there is an enormous shift in the world around us, in how we see it and how we understand ourselves.

“I think many people will be finding that sense of not just grief, but also uncertainty and to some extent a wondering about what is permanent.

He said the Queen could make anyone she met feel like they were the only person in the room.

Praising the time she devoted to public service, he added: “There were hundreds of events every year which she attended.

“And she was the one – and again it runs in the family, I’ve seen His Majesty do the same thing – who could go into a room full of people or walk down a crowded street, and everyone she spoke to felt that they were the only person there.

“She was never looking over their shoulder to see if there was somebody a bit more interesting. Everybody got her attention.”

He added: “I think part of her great service that was unseen, as one former prime minister I heard say, that there’s only one person in the world that he could talk to and say exactly what he thought and felt and was 100% certain that it would never go any further.

“And I think that that was a hidden service. She was a place of confidences, and of accumulating wisdom.”

And Dalai Lama has written a letter to the King.

“I remember seeing photographs of her coronation in magazines when I was young in Tibet,” he wrote.

“Her reign, as Britain’s longest-serving monarch, represented celebration, inspiration and a reassuring sense of continuity for so many people alive today.

“Your mother lived a meaningful life with dignity, grace, a strong sense of service and a warm heart, qualities we all should treasure.”

Meanwhile, the Bishop of Leicester, Martyn Snow, described a fond memory of the Queen teaching him how to play cards.

“I was also invited for a weekend at Sandringham with the Queen and Prince Philip, an extraordinary weekend in all sorts of different ways,” he told BBC Breakfast.

“My memory of it, in particular playing cards with the Queen which was quite extraordinary.

“So she taught me how to play patience – a very particular form of patience that she often played when there were lots of guests around I think – and when I admitted that I didn’t know how to play it, she taught me, so that’s a memory that will live with me long.”

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s World at One programme, the Archbishop of York said the Queen had been “very good at putting people at their ease”.

The Most Rev Stephen Cottrell said: “When I stayed with her at Sandringham on the Sunday evening when all the other guests had gone home – and the bishop always traditionally stays on, we sat and did a jigsaw and watched the telly and talked very ordinarily about stuff.”

The puzzle was “fiendishly difficult”, he said, remarking: “I’ve never attempted one like it.”

He added: “When the evening came to a close and she said to me, ‘Well, I’m going to put the dogs out now, will you still be here when I get back, bishop?’, I said to her, ‘Well, it depends how long you’re going to be’.”

He said the Queen remarked she would be around 10 minutes, to which he replied: “‘Well, if when you get back, I’m not here, I’ve gone to bed. If the jigsaw isn’t here, it’s because I’ve thrown it into the fire because I’ve never, ever attempted such a difficult one’. And we laughed.”