Service of thanksgiving held for Queen in Northern Ireland

The service of thanksgiving at St Anne's Cathedral in Belfast.(Photo: Sky News)

The Queen's role in reconciliation in Northern Ireland has been remembered during a service of thanksgiving in Belfast. 

The service at St Anne's Cathedral was attended by King Charles III, the Queen Consort, Taoiseach Micheal Martin, Irish President Michael D Higgins, British Prime Minister Liz Truss, Sinn Fein vice president Michelle O'Neill and DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson. 

Leaders from the Catholic, Methodist and Presbyterian Churches also took part in the service, taking it in turns to offer prayers.

The head of the Church of Ireland, Archbishop John McDowell, praised the Queen for her "faithfulness, care, dutifulness, love and devotion".

"All of these could be employed to describe her relationship with Northern Ireland, with patience binding them all together, but paying attention especially to what she said most recently, the word which I think will be most associated with Queen Elizabeth and Ireland, north and south, is reconciliation," he said. 

He added that the Queen "followed where Jesus led as women often have in the elusive and unfinished work of reconciliation here in Ireland", and that she had "walked the hard road of reconciliation in this province and on this island".

"God Save the King" was sung inside the cathedral before King Charles and Camilla went to greet the crowds waiting outside.

Addressing members of the Northern Ireland Assembly earlier in the day, King Charles said that the Queen "never ceased to pray for the best of times" for the people of Northern Ireland.

"My mother felt deeply the significance of the role she has played in bringing together those who history had separated, and extending a hand to make possible the healing of long-held hurts," he said.

The King pledged the same commitment to Northern Ireland as shown by his mother.

"At the very beginning of her life of service, she made a pledge to dedicate herself to her country and her people and to maintain the principles of constitutional government.

"This promise she kept with steadfast faith.

"Now with that shining example for me, and with God's help, I take up my new duties resolved to seek the welfare of all the inhabitants of Northern Ireland," he said. 

There were cheers from the waiting crowds as the King and Queen Consort exited the cathedral.

They were returning to London on Tuesday evening as the Queen's coffin made its own journey from Edinburgh to London.