'Servant' leader Queen Elizabeth II honoured at state funeral

(Photo: BBC)

The Queen's funeral has been held at Westminster Abbey where 2,000 guests, including presidents and prime ministers, paid their respects. 

The service was broadcast live across the nation in churches and cathedrals, with millions more watching from around the world. 

The sermon was delivered by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, who said in his sermon that the Queen had touched "a multitude of lives".

He said few leaders had received the same outpouring of love and grief as witnessed in the days following the Queen's death.

He invited leaders in attendance to follow the Queen's example of servant leadership. 

"The pattern for many leaders is to be exalted in life and forgotten after death," the Archbishop said.

"Her late Majesty's example was not set through her position or her ambition but through whom she followed."

King Charles III, he added, "shares the same faith and hope in Jesus Christ as his mother, the same sense of service and duty."

The Archbishop went on to quote the Queen's address to the nation during the pandemic when she ended with words from a Vera Lynn song, "we will meet again."

"We will all face the merciful judgement of God. We can all share the Queen's hope which in life and death inspired her servant leadership - service in life, hope in death," the Archbishop continued.

"All who follow the Queen's example and inspiration of trust and faith in God can with her say, we will meet again."

He expressed his sympathy with members of the Royal Family grieving "in the brightest spotlight" of the global public eye.

"May God heal their sorrow, may the gap left in their lives be marked with memories of joy and life," he said.

(Photo: BBC)

The hymns "The Day Thou Gavest" and "The Lord's My Shepherd" were sung by the congregation during the service.

The Dean of Westminster, the Very Rev David Hoyle, opened the service with words of gratitude for the Queen's "long life of selfless service" and her "unswerving commitment to a high calling over so many years as Queen and head of the Commonwealth". 

"Praise God for her constant example of Christian faith and devotion," he added. 

Before the start of the service, Westminster Abbey's tenor bell tolled every minute for 96 minutes - one for each year of the Queen's life.

The service was attended by Church leaders from across the denominations including Dr Iain Greenshields, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland; Shermara Fletcher, Principal Officer for Pentecostal and Charismatic Relations at Churches Together in England; Dame Sarah Mullally, Bishop of London and Dean of His Majesty's Chapels Royal; Canon Helen Cameron, Moderator of the Free Churches Group; Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Catholic Archbishop of Westminster; and Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York.

The choir sang Psalm 42:1-7 by composer and Master of the Queen's Music, Judith Weir.

The service ended with a two-minute silence and the National Anthem.

The Queen's coffin will be taken to Windsor Castle where she will be interred in her final resting place, St George's Chapel, beside her beloved late husband Prince Philip.