Queen ‘set example’ by sitting alone at Philip’s funeral, says archbishop

The Archbishop of Canterbury hath praised the Queen for “doing the right thing” by sitting alone at the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral.

Justin Welby, speaking ahead of the 70th anniversary of the Queen’s access to the throne, also commended her for showing “duty, leadership and character”.

On Sunday, she will become the first British monarch to celebrate a platinum jubilee.

Mr Welby told the BBC she had committed herself to a life of duty and public service.

In an interview with the broadcaster, he said: “The clearest moment for me, the absolute summit of that, was that at the funeral of her husband of 70-something years, she sat alone.

“That was leadership, it was doing the right thing, it was duty, it set an example.”

He added: “She takes her duties seriously, but she doesn’t take herself very seriously. She laughs in private, she has an absolutely superb sense of humour.

“‘It’s not about me’ almost sums up her reign.”

The archbishop also compared her coronation to taking the vows for religious ministry.

He told the BBC: “The coronation service is a form of ordination, in a liturgical sense, and she lives that out without a grumble.

“It is priestly – the language, the structure, it’s very similar to an ordination of a priest or a bishop.”

The Queen, 95, is to observe the jubilee at her Sandringham estate where she traditionally spends the anniversary of her accession to the throne – February 6 – a poignant day, as it is the date her father King George VI died in 1952.

The archbishop told the BBC she had faced “intense grief” with the death of her husband.

But he added: “She’s immensely private on such things. That’s who she is.”

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