File photo of then-Princess Elizabeth II on her wedding day on 20 November 1947 File photo of then-Princess Elizabeth II on her wedding day on 20 November 1947 

Tributes pour in for death of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II

Christian leaders are sending their heartfelt praise and condolences to the people of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth as the world mourns the late Queen Elizabeth II, who died on Thursday afternoon.

By Francesca Merlo & Christopher Wells

Tributes are pouring in after the death of Queen Elizabeth II in the afternoon of 8 September 2022. As the world mourns, Church and world leaders send their messages of condolences, as well as prayers for the new king.

Cardinal Nichols

Cardinal Vincent Nichols is amongst those paying tribute to the monarch. 

In a statement, the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, and President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, recalled the Queen's promise, on her 21st birthday to devote her life to the service of her people. 

"Now, seventy-five years later, we are heartbroken in our loss at her death, and so full of admiration for the unfailing way in which she fulfilled that declaration," stated the Cardinal. 

He expressed his sorrow and his gratitude "for the gift to the world that has been the life of Queen Elizabeth II."

Now, he continued, "our prayer is that she is now received into the merciful presence of God, there to be reunited with her beloved Prince Philip," before concluding his message with a prayer for His Majesty the King, "as he assumes his new office even as he mourns his mother."

"God save the King", concluded the Cardinal. 

Archbishop Welby

Separately, the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, issued a statement after the announcement from the Palace.

Archbishop Welby said, “It is with profound sadness that I join the nation, the Commonwealth and the world in mourning the death of Her Late Majesty The Queen. My prayers are with The King and the Royal Family. May God draw near them and comfort them in the days, weeks and months ahead.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury noted “Her Late Majesty’s extraordinary dedication to the United Kingdom, her Realms and the Commonwealth,” adding, “through times of war and hardship, through seasons of upheaval and change, and through moments of joy and celebration, we have been sustained by Her Late Majesty’s faith in what and who we are called to be.”

He also recalled her remarkable Christian witness. “As a faithful Christian disciple, and also Supreme Governor of the Church of England, she lived out her faith every day of her life. Her trust in God and profound love for God was foundational in how she led her life – hour by hour, day by day."

“In The Late Queen’s life, we saw what it means to receive the gift of life we have been given by God and – through patient, humble, selfless service – share it as a gift to others.”

Archbishop Welby concluded his statement with the prayer, “May Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II rest in peace and rise in glory.”

English and Welsh Bishops' prayer for late Queen

The Catholic Bishops of England and Wales have released the following prayer which will be distributed to all Catholic parishes across the country.

For the happy repose of HM The Queen

Almighty God,
You are the author and sustainer of all human life;
grant that your servant, Elizabeth our Queen,
whom you granted a long and happy reign as Monarch of these lands
may be forgiven her sins and rewarded with that eternal life
promised to all those born again
in the water of baptism and power of your Spirit.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit God, forever and ever,

Eternal rest, grant to her O Lord,
And let Perpetual light shine upon her.

May she rest in peace.

May her soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed,
Through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Canadian Bishops

Bishop Raymond Poisson offered the condolences of the Catholic Bishops of Canada (CCCB.

The Bishops noted that “generations of Canadians have lived under Queen Elizabeth’s long reign”, adding that she will be “forever remembered for her remarkable service to the people”.

“She visited Canada 22 times. On each occasion, Canadians found in her an example of service, patriotism, respect for humanity, and devotion to God. In 1971, when delivering a speech in Toronto, she remarked: ‘I want the Crown to be seen as a symbol of national sovereignty belonging to all. It is not only a link between Commonwealth nations, but between Canadian citizens of every national origin and ancestry.’ Queen Elizabeth resonated with Canadians from all walks of life.”

New Zealand Bishops

The Bishops of Aotearoa New Zealand joined their voice to other members of the Commonwealth in mourning the death of their Sovereign and Head of State, Queen Elizabeth II.

They also noted how her reign saw New Zealand changed from a “monocultural nation which looked to Britain as ‘home’” to become “one of the most multicultural societies in the world.”

The Bishops cited the experience of the Māori people, who lived “on the edges of Pakeha society”, and the Māori renaissance in the 1970s.

“Most people in Aotearoa New Zealand today have known no other monarch than Queen Elizabeth II. She has been a constant in our country’s remarkable progress. Hers has been an Elizabethan Age the like of which we may never see again.”

Irish Bishops

The Primate of All Ireland, Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh, shared the condolences of the Irish Bishops to King Charles III and all those who grieve Queen Elizabeth.

Archbishop Martin praised the late Queen’s “immense commitment” to her duties as well as to the wider common good.

“What stands out for me is her dedication to faith, to family, and to peace and reconciliation… She came across as friendly and good humoured and took time to put everyone at their ease. I have always admired Queen Elizabeth’s quiet dignity and calm nature despite living through very difficult times with much political, economic, social and family upheaval.”

The Irish Archbishop concluded by recalling her “deep faith and love for Jesus Christ” and praying that “her faith in the Risen Lord will be of comfort to many people.”

(Article updated at 11:00 AM on 9 September 2022)

08 September 2022, 19:59