We'll never know. Our monarch has never forgotten, in 60 years, that she was anointed to serve

The Bishops of England and Wales have sent out a directive for Masses next Sunday, which you can read by following this link. Next Sunday is Trinity Sunday, but it is also the Sunday of the Diamond Jubilee weekend, and this important occasion is to be marked at Mass.

First of all there is to be a special first reading, 1 Kings 3:11–14, taken from the Lectionary, for Masses for the King or Head of State:

The Lord said to Solomon, ‘Since you have not asked for long life for yourself or riches or the lives of your enemies, but have asked for a discerning judgment for yourself, here and now I do what you ask. I give you a heart wise and shrewd as none before you has had and none will have after you. What you have not asked I shall give you too: such riches and glory as no other king ever had. And I will give you a long life, if you follow my ways, keeping my laws and commandments, as your father David followed them.’

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After the post-Communion prayer, there is to be the following prayer for the Queen:

V. O Lord, save Elizabeth, our Queen.
R. And hear us on the day we call upon you.
V. O Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come before you.
V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with your spirit.
Almighty God, we pray that your servant Elizabeth, our Queen,
who, by your providence has received the governance of this realm,
may continue to grow in every virtue,
that, imbued with your heavenly grace,
she may be preserved from all that is harmful and evil
and, being blessed with your favour
may, with her consort and royal family,
come at last into your presence,
through Christ who is the way, the truth and the life
and who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God,
for ever and ever. Amen.

This is, I think, the same Domine, Salvam Fac, that we used to have years ago at the end of Mass for the monarch, and which some churches still do have.

A Royal Diamond Jubilee does not come round very often, and none of us are likely to see one again; indeed this is only the second in British history. So, it is only right that it should be properly celebrated and that this celebration should be marked liturgically. After all, we are not just celebrating the achievement of one person – it is a national celebration, so I am glad the Church is getting involved.

One wonders what the Queen herself makes of it all.

Long to reign over us Anwar Hussein/Anwar Hussein/EMPICS Entertainment

But we shall ever know. Her thoughts on this, as on other matters, are something of a mystery. I have at various times met people who have met the Queen, and always asked them what she was like. None of the answers have been very illuminating, though I am told that she is a brilliant mimic. The only person who ever gave me an impression of what she was really like was Fr Jean-Marie Charles-Roux, now living in retirement in Rome, and happily still with us at the age of 97. Prince Philip, he told me, could be quite fun, but the Queen was always formal. “You never forget for a moment that she is Queen,” he said.

Quite so. And neither has she ever forgotten for a moment, since her accession, sixty years ago, that she is Queen, called, indeed anointed, to serve. Her dedication to duty is a remarkable thing. She, like the good kings of Old Testament times, has certainly followed in the Lord’s ways, an example to us all.

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