Archbishop to miss Queen's Platinum Jubilee service due to Covid

(Photo: Lambeth Palace/ Jacqui J Sze)

The Archbishop of Canterbury has been forced to pull out of a service celebrating the Queen's Platinum Jubilee after testing positive for Covid-19.

The positive Covid test follows a bout of mild pneumonia that forced Archbishop Justin Welby to reduce his schedule last week. 

Lambeth Palace said the Archbishop had tested positive for Covid-19 on Monday morning and would no longer be able to preach the sermon at the Service of Thanksgiving for the Queen at St Paul's Cathedral this Friday. 

Welby said he was "deeply saddened" to be missing the service.

The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, will preach the sermon in his place. 

Despite missing the service, Welby said he would be praying for the Queen and "giving thanks for her extraordinary seventy years of service to us all".

"I will also be praying for our nation at this time of celebration and thanksgiving. May the Queen's example bring us together in unity and care for one another," he said.

"For those attending Friday's service at St Paul's Cathedral, and the millions watching on television, I hope this joyful occasion will inspire us with the Queen's profound commitment to fostering unity and peace among all people – and to promoting care for the natural world that God has given us.

"Led by the love of Jesus Christ, the Queen has lived her life for the benefit of others: l pray we find inspiration from Her Majesty over the Jubilee weekend and long into the future.

"Meanwhile as we continue to live with coronavirus, I pray too for all those who are still suffering and everyone who continues to mourn loved ones they have lost during the pandemic. May you each know the love and comfort of God."

"As we prepare to celebrate the first Platinum Jubilee in our nation's history, may God save the Queen, and bless her with the knowledge of our profound love and gratitude for her service to us all."