Queen did not want ‘long, boring’ funeral, says former archbishop of York | Queen Elizabeth II

The Queen did not want a “long, boring” funeral service, John Sentamu, the former archbishop of York, has said.

Sentamu had first sight of plans for the Queen’s funeral in 2005 when he became an archbishop and a member of the privy council.

“The Queen does not and did not want what you call long, boring services. You’re not going to find boredom, but you’re going to be lifted to glory as you hear the service,” he told the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg.

The service would be rooted in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, he said. “What you’re going to expect is the best of funeral services, the prayer book service, the words which were an inspiration to Shakespeare.

“You’re going to hear this wonderful English at its best. Also you’re going to hear angelic voices of the choir of the abbey plus the Chapels Royal … voices that are singing to the glory of God.”

He added: “The hearts and people’s cockles will be warmed and at the same time, there will be a moment of saying: this is a funeral service that is glorious in its setting.”

Sentamu said the Queen had written to him about her grief after her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, died last year.

“The Queen wrote me a most wonderful letter four weeks after the burial of Prince Philip, thanking me for the flowers, the prayers, and then ended by saying: ‘When you are grieving someone you deeply love, it isn’t easy when you have to do it in public.’

“So my thoughts will be to the new King and the whole royal family. They are grieving publicly.”

Further details about the order of service for Monday’s funeral at Westminster Abbey are due to be released later on Sunday.

It is expected to be a traditional, formal service with prayers, psalms and bible readings as set out in the Book of Common Prayer. Hymns, music and other readings are likely to reflect the Queen’s personal choices.

The 11am service will be led by David Hoyle, the dean of Westminster, with the sermon given by Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury.

After the Queen’s coffin has been taken by road to Windsor Castle, a committal service will be held at 4pm in St George’s Chapel, led by the dean of Windsor and with a congregation including the royal family and some of the Queen’s personal staff.

A final, private burial service for close family members will be held at 7.30pm.

Sentamu retired as archbishop of York in 2020 and was succeeded by Stephen Cottrell.


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