Archbishop of York 'honoured' to speak at Queen Elizabeth II's funeral

The Archbishop of York spoke at the Queen's funeral.

The Archbishop of York has said his "mum is very proud" about his pivotal role in the Queen's funeral and the commemorative events held since her death.

The Most Reverend Stephen Cottrell, who got to know Queen Elizabeth II personally, was asked to say a prayer at the service at Westminster Abbey on Monday, 19 September.

He was previously one of eight people to formally proclaim King Charles III at a ceremony at St James's Palace.  

Asked how he felt to be part of the formalities, the Archbishop told ITV News: "It has been the most extraordinary honour. My mum is very proud. It has been wonderful to be part of this.

"But of course, also sad. The Queen was a young girl in the blitz, serving our nation. The length of her reign – extraordinary, perhaps never to be repeated – carries the story of our nation in no other way, so of course we feel her loss.

  • Archbishop Stephen Cottrell speaks to ITV News

Archbishop Stephen, who became the second most senior clergyman in the Church of England in 2020, came to know the Queen having spent time with her at her Sandringham estate.

He told ITV News: "What I remember the most is her warmth and good humour.

"She’s someone who took her role as Queen very seriously indeed but she didn't take herself too seriously and I wonder if that is what enabled her to inhabit the role in a simple, humble, gracious, good humoured way."

The Archbishop of York's prayer at the Queen's funeral

We give thanks to God for Queen Elizabeth’s loyalty to the faith she inherited through her baptism and confirmation, and affirmed at her Coronation.

For her unswerving devotion to the Gospel and for her steadfast service as supreme governor of the Church of England.

Lord, we beseech thee to keep thy household the church in continual godliness.

That through thy protection she may be free from all adversities and devoutly given to serve thee in all good works to the glory of thy name through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen

  • Archbishop Stephen Cottrell offers a prayer at the Queen's funeral

The Archbishop said the Queen's "last great gift" to the nation was "to draw us together".

"Together in our grief, but also together in our thanksgiving," he said. "What has really interested me is the queues in the last few days [to see the Queen lying in state]. I have spent quite a bit of time going out and chatting to people in the queue. And of course most people are from the UK, but there are people from the Commonwealth, from America, from Germany and Spain, from all over the place.

"I think the Queen's life and witness and service has touched millions of lives and, yes, brought us together as a nation but maybe even across our world."

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