The Archbishop of Canterbury said the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, and her public service ever since, symbolised the very nature of being British.

In his sermon at the anniversary service at Westminster Abbey on 4 June, Archbishop Justin Welby reflected on the moment 60 years ago when the Queen knelt before the altar at Westminster Abbey in silent prayer, before taking the throne.

The Queen’s original pledge of allegiance to God symbolised the model of liberty and authority which the UK enjoyed, the Archbishop said.

"Liberty is only real when it exists under authority. Liberty under authority begins, as the Book of Common Prayer puts it, with our duty to God, 'whose service is perfect freedom'.

“We live in a hierarchy of liberty under authority that ascends to God's limitless love. As we see in the life of Jesus, with God justice and mercy are perfectly joined, wisdom is unlimited, generosity is unstinting, and love pours out to the whole world in an overwhelming embrace that is offered universally and abundantly.

“A nation that crowns its head of state with such a model of liberty under authority expresses commitment to the same glorious values for itself,” he said.

To read the sermon in full, go to


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