Queen sends personal condolences to Billy Graham's family as funeral details emerge

The Queen is sending private condolences to Billy Graham's family after the evangelist died yesterday aged 99.

She met the preacher several times during his trips to the UK and Buckingham Palace confirmed she will send a personal message to Graham's family, including his son Franklin Graham.

BBCThe Queen has a deep personal faith and met Graham several times.

Graham first preached in the UK on a 12-week 'crusade' that drew more than 2 million people and packed out Harringay arena in north London and even Wembley Stadium. After meeting the Queen personally, Graham was invited to preach at the Queen's private chapel a number of times including on Easter Sunday in 1995 and was even given an honorary knighthood in 2001.

'Good manners do not permit one to discuss the details of a private visit with Her Majesty, but I can say that I judge her to be a woman of rare modesty and character,' he wrote in his autobiography Just As I Am.

The Royal Family joins President Donald Trump, President Obama and other former US presidents in paying tribute to the evangelist, hailed as the most influential preacher in the 20th century.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said the worldwide church owed Graham an 'inexpressible' debt.

'Dr Billy Graham stood as an exemplar to generation upon generation of modern Christians. When it comes to a living and lasting influence upon the worldwide church he can have few equals: for he introduced person after person to Jesus Christ. There are countless numbers who began their journey of faith because of Dr Graham,' he said.

'He was one who met presidents and preachers, monarchs and musicians, the poor and the rich, the young and the old, face to face. Yet now he is face to face with Jesus Christ, his saviour and ours. It is the meeting he has been looking forward to for the whole of his life.'

Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, along with Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, George W Bush and Jimmy Carter are expected to attend Graham's funeral on March 2 in his home town of Charlotte, North Carolina.

The funeral service will be private and will include family members, friends, and community leaders who were touched by Graham's ministry with around 2,300 people in total attending the 90-minute service.

His son Franklin Graham will give the eulogy and his other children will speak briefly to honour their father.