The Queen hosted an audience with the Archbishop of Canterbury at Windsor Castle earlier this week, in which she was awarded a Canterbury Cross for her longstanding service to the Church of England.
The head of state held a face-to-face audience with Justin Welby at Windsor Castle and accepted the honour for her ‘unstinting’ service to the Church of England throughout her 70-year-long reign. The award, a silver cross inspired by a 9th-century Saxon brooch and incorporating a triquetra pattern, was described as a “heartfelt symbol” of the church’s “love, loyalty and affection”.
The Canterbury Cross is presented each year as part of the annual Lambeth Awards to a small number of recipients, who have shown outstanding service to the church.
The cross’s design is inspired by a Saxon brooch which was found in Canterbury in 1867 and dates from around 850AD.
It incorporates the motif of a triquetra pattern: a three-cornered knot, symbolising the Christian Trinity, on each of its four curved arms. The tips of the arms suggest arcs of a single circle, giving the overall effect of a round wheel.
The 96-year-old monarch was photographed standing unaided as she was shown the cross. She received the award wearing her glasses, dressed in a cream dress decorated with a pattern of large pink flowers. The queen, who is facing ongoing mobility issues, shook hands with the archbishop, who wore purple clerical robes, as he entered the Oak Room sitting room in the Berkshire castle.
Queen Elizabeth II, has a strong Christian faith that has been evident throughout her life in her words and actions. As well as her formal role as ‘Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England.
In the citation for the Canterbury Cross which was also given to the Queen as a framed piece of calligraphy, the archbishop praised the monarch and hailed “her care for the unity of her people and the welfare of the least fortunate” as a “constant inspiration to the whole church”.
The citation read: “Throughout her reign, Her Majesty has duly upheld both the Christian religion and the Church of England in her roles as Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England.
“Whether in the formality of opening sessions of General Synod or the more intimate context of her personal addresses to the nation and Commonwealth at Christmas, Her Majesty has made manifest her own deep faith and its relevance to all that she undertakes.
“Her subtle understanding of the changing position of the Established Church in England has sustained and encouraged laity and clergy alike.
“Her care for the unity of her people and the welfare of the least fortunate have been a constant inspiration to the whole Church. Hers is an example of a Christian life well-led.
“This presentation of the Canterbury Cross is a heartfelt symbol of the love, loyalty, and affection in which the Church of England holds Her Majesty and it represents the recognition and gratitude of her whole Church for her seventy years of unstinting service. God Save The Queen!”
The citation by Archbishop Justin Welby includes prayer as follows:
O GOD, who providest for thy people by thy power,
and rulest over them in love:
Vouchsafe so to bless thy Servant our Queen,
that under her this nation may be wisely governed,
and thy Church may serve thee in all godly quietness;
and grant that she being devoted to thee with her whole heart,
and persevering in good works unto the end,
may, by thy guidance, come to thine everlasting kingdom;
through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord,
who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost,
ever one God, world without end.