Worshippers at Queen’s local church near Balmoral urged to find comfort

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Worshippers at the Queen’s local church near Balmoral heard how the monarch might have urged those grieving her death to find comfort in the “message of faith and hope” in her favourite Psalm.

A few dozen people gathered for the first Sunday service at Crathie Kirk since the Queen’s death, which took place around 90 minutes after her coffin departed Balmoral.

One woman dabbed her eyes with a tissue as a fiddler played an instrumental piece recalling the death of the Queen’s grandfather.

The melody of the Lament on the Death of King George V filled the small church just a short walk from Balmoral as sunlight streamed through the stained-glass windows.

A day earlier, some of the Queen’s children and grandchildren visited the church for a prayer service before meeting members of the public and viewing tributes outside the gates of Balmoral.

The Duke of York, his daughters Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice, the Princess Royal, her husband Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, the Earl of Wessex, his wife the Countess of Wessex and daughter Lady Louise Windsor, and Anne’s children Peter Phillips and Zara Tindall all attended.

On Sunday, the Very Reverend Dr Angus Morrison, who has previously served as Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, described the Queen as a “person of sincere and deeply-held Christian faith”.

She has frequently attended the church during her summer stays at Balmoral.

He told those gathered: “We have been privileged to witness this, some of you at particularly close quarters as our Sovereign lived out her faith with such grace, joy, wisdom and peace.

The Countess of Wessex
The Countess of Wessex was among those who attended a service at Crathie Kirk on Saturday (Andrew Milligan/PA)

“Today we mourn her going hence. We feel that our world has somehow completely changed, that things can never be quite the same again.”

He said he had been told Psalm 23, read at Sunday’s service and featuring the well-known line “The Lord is my shepherd”, was the Queen’s favourite.

The minister said: “I just wonder if the Queen were here today, recognising our united grief, she might say to us ‘remember Psalm 23 and its message of faith and hope’.

“For in such a beautiful manner, this Psalm gives expression to the faith that was at the foundation of her life.”

Towards the end of the service, the congregation sang God Save The King.

The Very Rev Dr Morrison presided over Sunday’s service while parish minister the Reverend Ken MacKenzie travelled to Edinburgh as part of the Queen’s funeral cortege.