Many pieces of music played at Queen Elizabeth’s funeral were chosen for their special significance to both the Queen and Westminster Abbey.
One of the songs was ‘The Lord’s My Shepherd’. The song was also sung at Elizabeth’s wedding to Prince Philip in 1947 at the same church.
The song ‘O Taste and See’ was written by Ralph Vaughan Williams for the Queen’s coronation ceremony in 1953, which also took place at Westminster Abbey. Williams’ ashes are interred in the famous abbey.
The hymn “Love Divine, All Loves Exceeding” was sung at the wedding of the Queen’s grandson, Prince William, to Catherine in 2011.
Listen to a snippet of The Lord’s My Shephard below.
Much of the music for the Windsor service later Monday is by composer William Henry Harris, who was also the chapel’s organist between 1933 and 1961. He is said to have taught the Queen to play the piano as a child.
The service was led by Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, among others. He quoted in his sermon Elizabeth’s promise she made on her 21st birthday to dedicate her life to service. “Rarely has such a promise been so well kept. Few leaders receive the outpouring of love we have seen.”
“Those who serve will be loved and remembered, while those who cling to power and privilege are long forgotten,” Welby said in his sermon.
Welby’s musings, addressed to the 2,000 in attendance at Westminster Abbey, centered on eternal life after death, a central message of traditional Christian funerals.
The service was taken from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, the official prayer book of the Church of England. The Queen is said to have been fond of this book, along with the hymns and readings the Queen had personally chosen for her funeral.
View the funeral liturgy here
One of the readings was from the Bible book of John, which contains the famous saying of Jesus: “I am the way, the truth and the life”. In the run-up to Queen Elizabeth’s funeral, the Archbishop spoke in an interview about his relationship with the British Queen and about her life of faith.
Watch the conversation with Justin Welby below.
God save the king
The service at Westminster Abbey concluded with the national anthem ‘God save the king’. King Charles was the only one not to sing along, because the song is addressed to him. Charles’ 9-year-old grandson, Prince George, and his granddaughter Charlotte (7) also sang the national anthem.
After the memorial service at Westminster Abbey, another service followed in Windsor. About 800 people were invited to the service at St George’s Chapel, including Queen Margrethe of Denmark.
Read here which royals were also at the funeral.
At the beginning of the service in St George’s Chapel, Pastor David Connor praised Queen Elizabeth’s service to the country. “Here in the chapel where she has prayed so often, we are reminded of one whose uncomplicated yet profound Christian faith has borne so much fruit, fruiting in a life of unwavering service to the nation, the Commonwealth and the world at large. But also in kindness, concern and reassuring concern for her family, friends and neighbors.”
“In a fast-paced and often troubled world, her calm and dignified presence has given us confidence to face the future with courage and hope. With grateful hearts, we reflect on these and many other ways her long life has blessed us. We pray that God will give us grace to honor her memory by following her example.”