Diocese of Portsmouth

HM The Queen
HM The Queen

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

We joined with the whole nation and friends across the world in expressing our sorrow at the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Amidst the pain and grief we also lifted prayers of thanksgiving for her life, service and example to our nation and to the world.

Many of our churches hosted services of thanksgiving for her life. We gave thanks to God for the life of our late Queen, and prayed for the new King, the Royal Family and our nation.

Among the services was a civic service in our cathedral, where Bishop Jonathan drew on the city's motto to declare that 'Heaven's light was her guide'. To download his sermon, click here.

Resources for Parishes and Schools

Guidance for parish churches

  • Click here to download the national C of E’s document that lists guidance for parish churches, including items relating to church bells, flags and the order of events during the 10 days of national mourning.
  • The British Flag Institute has guidance for churches and civic buildings with flag poles. 
  • The Central Council for Church Bell Ringers published guidance on bell ringing during the period of mourning. 
  • Download a photo of Queen Elizabeth II here to use as part of tributes on your website and social media.
  • If you wish to livestream the funeral, this FAQ page from the BBC provides guidance. 

Liturgical and prayer resources

  • The national Church of England’s official prayer, liturgical resources and the chance to sign a virtual condolence book can be found here.
  • Read the national C of E’s press release about how parish churches across our nation responded here.
  • A number of hymns recorded by the choir and organists of St Martin-in-the-Fields are available for download on our website to be used in services where the capacity for musical or choral accompaniment might be limited. More are available from the A Church Near You resources hub (editor access required).

Children and young people

  • A worship resource is attached for you here to use in either a school or a church, as you talk about the death of Queen Elizabeth II with children and young people. There are notes, prayers and comments are under each slide in the Powerpoint.

Statement from Bishop Jonathan

“Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II served our nation with integrity, devotion and wisdom. Living faith in Jesus Christ gave her a spiritual compass in daily life and provided a source of steady inspiration for many within the Church, Nation and Commonwealth. On this day in which sadness and thanksgiving join hands, I pray with heartfelt gratitude for her life and faithful service.

“Her Majesty’s death will be deeply felt by very many and perhaps especially by her family. Conscious of the widespread public attention they will receive, we pray today that the Royal Family may know the consolation of Christ’s love in their loss.”

HM the Queen with the Very Rev Michael Yorke at our cathedral in 1998
HM the Queen visiting our cathedral to present Maundy money in 1998

Queen Elizabeth’s life and reign

Elizabeth II, born Elizabeth Alexandria Mary on April 21st, 1926, was the eldest daughter of George VI. She became Queen of the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth realms when her father died on February 6th, 1952.

Through her marriage to HRH Prince Philip she had four children – Charles, Prince of Wales; Anne, Princess Royal; Prince Andrew, Duke of York; and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex – as well as eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

During her reign she was advisor and confidante to 15 Prime Ministers, including Winston Churchill, made over 100 state visits all over the world, and has been the longest-serving British monarch in modern history. She became patron of more than 600 charities and organisations, and awarded for 400,000 honours.

She exemplified a life of sacrifice and service, attributing her faith in Jesus Christ, and his life and teaching, as the source and motivation for her long years of service.

HM Queen Elizabeth at her Coronation in 1953
“I know just how much I rely on my faith to guide me through the good times and the bad. Each day is a new beginning. I know that the only way to live my life is to try to do what is right, to take the long view, to give of my best in all that the day brings, and to put my trust in God … I draw strength from the message of hope in the Christian gospel.”
Queen Elizabeth II, Christmas 2002