Queen Elizabeth II, who has died at the age of 96, was the longest serving British monarch. Lauren Windle explores how she relied on her faith in Jesus and the prayers of her subjects to sustain her during the 70-year-long reign.
The Queen of England, Elizabeth II has passed away at the age of 96. The longest reigning monarch in British history showed her loyalty and servant heart throughout her 70 years on the throne.
Holding the highest title in the land also comes with additional, nominal powers and Her Royal Highness was also the “Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England”. The role has been handed to the Sovereign since Henry VIII divorced both Catherine of Aragon and the Catholic church. But aside from her allocated position as head of the Church of England, the Queen had her own deeply personal faith which has been evident throughout her reign.
A deeply private woman, it was rare to hear the Queen being interviewed or speaking candidly about her life. But the general public got a brief glimpse into her thoughts and faith during the annual Christmas broadcasts, when she regularly referred to Jesus Christ.
In December 2000 during her Christmas Day speech, she said: “For me the teachings of Christ and my own personal accountability before God provide a framework in which I try to lead my life.”
In 2008 the Queen said: “I hope that, like me, you will be comforted by the example of Jesus of Nazareth who, often in circumstances of great adversity, managed to live an outgoing, unselfish and sacrificial life. He makes it clear that genuine human happiness and satisfaction lie more in giving than receiving; more in serving than in being served.”
While in her 2014 message, she said: “[Jesus Christ] is a role model of reconciliation and forgiveness, he stretched out his hands in love, acceptance and healing. Christ’s example has taught me to seek to respect and value all people of whatever faith or none.”
“Forgiveness lies at the heart of the Christian faith. It can heal broken families.”
She often referred to the teachings of Jesus when it came to relationships and forgiveness. In 2011 she said: “Forgiveness lies at the heart of the Christian faith. It can heal broken families, it can restore friendships and it can reconcile divided communities. It is in forgiveness that we feel the power of God’s love.”
In 1989 the Queen used Jesus’ story of the Good Samaritan to illustrate her encouragement the we should love one-another. She said: “It’s not very difficult to apply that story to our own times and to work out that our neighbours are those of our friends, or complete strangers, who need a helping hand. It would be splendid to think that in the last years of the twentieth century Christ’s message about loving our neighbours as ourselves might at last be heeded.”
“Pray for me… that God may give me wisdom and strength to carry out the solemn promises I shall be making, and that I may faithfully serve Him and you, all the days of my life.”
Her Royal Highness worshipped privately every Sunday and regularly spoke of the power of prayer. In her first Christmas speech broadcast in 1952, the Queen asked her subjects to lift her up in prayer to God. She said: “Pray for me… that God may give me wisdom and strength to carry out the solemn promises I shall be making, and that I may faithfully serve Him and you, all the days of my life.”
In 1992 in her speech to mark the 40th anniversary of her accession she extended a thank you to anyone who has prayed for her, saying that those prayers: “sustained me through all these years”. And in the forward that Her Majesty wrote for the 2016 book The Servant Queen And The King She Serves, she said: “I have been — and remain — very grateful to you for your prayers and to God for his steadfast love.”