Your Excellency Archbishop Gallagher, Rev Sister Jane, Your Eminence, Excellencies, Girls and Gents, thanks very a lot for becoming a member of us this night as we have fun Her Majesty The Queen’s official birthday within the seventieth 12 months of her reign. As we noticed within the media over final weekend, this Platinum Jubilee has introduced the individuals of the UK collectively in a unprecedented means, in a celebration of Her Majesty’s dedication to her individuals, and in tribute to the longest reign in British historical past – second solely to that of the longest reigning monarch in recorded historical past, Louis XIV, who reigned a bit over 72 years. The Queen’s extraordinary reign has seen her journey extra broadly than some other monarch, enterprise over 260 official visits abroad, together with practically 100 state visits – which is maybe why these celebrations have echoed so broadly throughout each a part of the world.
It’s a specific honour for me to be marking this event as Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the Holy See, given the robust private relationships she has constructed with 5 successive popes, beginning as a younger princess in 1951 with a gathering with Pius XII right here in Rome. Additionally given the central function her religion has performed within the efficiency of her duties. From her first recorded broadcast, on her twenty first birthday, when she devoted her entire life in that now well-known phrase, ‘whether or not or not it’s brief or lengthy’, to the service of her individuals and known as on God to assist her make good her vow. And we now have seen through the years how, clearly, she meant this. Together with by quite a few Christmas broadcasts, for instance in 2002:
‘I know simply how a lot I rely by myself religion to information me by the great instances and the dangerous. Every day is a brand new starting, I do know that the one method to reside my life is to attempt to do what is correct, to take the lengthy view, to provide of my greatest in all that the day brings, and to place my belief in God.’
Importantly, nevertheless, as Head of the Nation and Head of the Commonwealth, Her Majesty additionally recognises and celebrates different faiths within the UK and all through the world. I quote from a speech she made at an interfaith assembly in Lambeth Palace throughout her Diamond Jubilee in 2012:
‘Religion performs a key function within the identification of hundreds of thousands of individuals, offering not solely a system of perception but in addition a way of belonging. It may well act as a spur for social motion. Certainly, spiritual teams have a proud monitor report of serving to these within the best want, together with the sick, the aged, the lonely and the deprived. They remind us of the duties we now have past ourselves.’
These of you watching the Pageant on Sunday may have seen a splendidly vibrant presentation known as ‘Have Religion’, with the six precept faiths in Britain represented in lantern sculptures. It’s arduous to think about a greater method to showcase the significance of her religion to Her Majesty. It additionally jogged my memory of the significance of multi-faith work, together with on international points equivalent to local weather change. I’m very happy that my first huge official assembly as ambassador right here was the religion leaders assembly on local weather final October, organised with the Vatican and the Embassy of Italy at which Pope Francis himself handed an attraction to world leaders to our COP President upfront of the assembly in Glasgow. A superb instance of the affect of our collaboration.
This 12 months, we now have been celebrating the fortieth Anniversary of ambassadorial relations between the UK and the Holy See. Her Majesty herself performed a vital function in establishing our present flourishing relationship when she got here on a state go to to the Vatican in 1980, with an invite for Pope St John Paul II to go to Buckingham Palace throughout his upcoming pastoral go to to the UK. The primary by a reigning pope. And he or she spoke of a ‘new and constructive period’ unfolding between the Church of England and the Catholic Church.
In November 2015, in an handle to the Church of England, the Queen highlighted how she noticed the function of the church when she stated: ‘St Paul reminds us that each one Christians, as ambassadors for Christ, are entrusted with the ministry of reconciliation. Spreading God’s phrase and the onerous however rewarding process of peace-making and battle decision are necessary elements of that ministry. So, too, is the Church of England’s vocation to work in partnership with these of different faiths and none, to serve the widespread good on this land.’
Earlier than I shut immediately, there are a few logistical bulletins to make. I hope you have got all discovered the completely different meals being served in several corners of this pretty backyard. I’m grateful to those that have labored so arduous to arrange them, and particularly to establish the big selection of edible variations of purple on the menu immediately! I’m grateful to the Embassy Choir for main us within the Nationwide Anthems, and to our bag-piper who welcomed us all this night.
In a second, the archbishop and I will likely be planting a tree on this backyard as a part of the Queen’s Inexperienced Cover initiative – an initiative created to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee, which invited individuals from throughout the UK and world wide to “Plant a Tree for the Jubilee”. We had been thrilled to listen to that Pope Francis had donated a Cedar of Lebanon as a part of this marketing campaign. And we are going to now be planting an olive tree as an emblem of peace in a conflict-afflicted world. Remembering Ukraine, and different elements of the world at battle, together with the final place I hosted a Queen’s Birthday Social gathering, pre-COVID, in Juba, South Sudan. Later, we will likely be serving the Jubilee pudding – chosen by Mary Berry (an icon of British baking) from lots of of different recipes to be the flag-carrier for this 12 months’s jubilee. I’d additionally prefer to thank Sister Jane and the Congregation of Jesus for letting us use this glorious backyard. And eventually, I want to thanks all for coming.
I’ll shut with what I consider is without doubt one of the most revealing statements Her Majesty has made about her system of beliefs in 2015: ‘Not all of us can do nice issues. However we will do small issues with nice love,’ she stated, quoting a favorite saying of Mom St Teresa of Calcutta. The Queen continued: ‘On our personal, we can not finish wars or wipe out injustice, however the cumulative affect of 1000’s of small acts of goodness might be greater than we think about.’