Queen Elizabeth II wasn’t scared of death — at least, so says the Archbishop of Canterbury.
After Buckingham Palace announced on Thursday the Queen passed away “peacefully” at her beloved Balmoral Castle at the age of 96, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby looked back on his very last meeting with the late monarch in an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Today show. He visited Queen Elizabeth at Windsor Castle in June in order to award her a special Canterbury Cross, commemorating her service to the Church of England in her Platinum Jubilee year. And during their last in-person encounter, Welby told the show he got the impression that Her Majesty did not “fear” the prospect of death, saying on Friday:
“I came away thinking there is someone who has no fear of death, has hope in the future, knows the rock on which she stands, and that gives her strength.”
Touching on how it felt to be in the near the longest-reigning monarch in British history, he recalled:
“You felt that history was in front of you, but it was history with those piercingly blue eyes twinkling, that extraordinary smile, and the relishing of a quick, dry comment.”
Ever since Elizabeth ascended the throne in 1952, she served as the ceremonial head of the Church of England – which the title has now been handed over to her son and successor, King Charles III. Following her death, the 73-year-old sovereign opened up about the loss of his mother in his first televised speech. He said at the time:
“Throughout her life, Her Majesty The Queen – my beloved Mother – was an inspiration and example to me and to all my family, and we owe her the most heartfelt debt any family can owe to their mother. Queen Elizabeth was a life well lived; a promise with destiny kept and she is mourned most deeply in her passing. That promise of lifelong service I renew to you all today.”
He later added:
“To my darling Mama, as you begin your last great journey to join my dear late Papa, I want simply to say this: thank you. Thank you for your love and devotion to our family and to the family of nations you have served so diligently all these years. May ‘flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.’”
Such a beautiful tribute…
Welby later offered his support for King Charles’ first address as the new monarch, tweeting:
“Thank you, Your Majesty, for these words of comfort and hope for us all, spoken amidst such profound sorrow. We hold you and your family in our prayers. May you know God’s faithful love now and always.”
Thank you, Your Majesty, for these words of comfort and hope for us all, spoken amidst such profound sorrow. We hold you and your family in our prayers. May you know God's faithful love now and always. https://t.co/52IdZmBePI
— Archbishop of Canterbury (@JustinWelby) September 9, 2022
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