The Queen’s Treasure
As Nation and Commonwealth celebrate this unprecedented anniversary, the Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty the Queen, we will inevitably see pictures and footage of Coronation Day sixty-nine years this month. Those who remember it may marvel at how much has changed, those too young to do so may find themselves gazing at a quaint and different world. We may well speculate as to whether the Christian faith will have such a prominent role in such occasions in years to come.
It is still an encouragement to recall the most precious item featured in the Coronation Service in Westminster Abbey. What is it?
One’s mind might run first to the Crown Jewels, including regalia such as the Sovereign’s Orb, Sceptre and Rod. It is said St Edward’s Crown, permanently set with semi-precious stones, is beyond price, because of its symbolic and historical significance. Even the Coronation Chair, one of the most precious and famous pieces of furniture in the world, has immeasurable value.
Yet the most precious item in the Coronation Service is none of these. The answer may surprise us. In the service the Queen was given this treasure and these words were said, “We present you with this Book, the most valuable thing this world affords. Here is wisdom. This is the Royal Law. These are the lively oracles of God.”
What was that treasure fit for a Queen on her Coronation Day, the most valuable thing this world can offer?
Over the years there has been ample evidence of how the Queen treasures her Bible. A well-thumbed copy is said to be by her bedside. Her Christmas broadcasts frequently refer to the Bible and the Parable of the Good Samaritan has been cited most frequently.
The late Billy Graham recalled in his biography, “I always found her very interested in the Bible and its message. After preaching at Windsor one Sunday, I was sitting next to the Queen at lunch. I told her I had been undecided until the last minute about my choice of sermon and had almost preached on the healing of the crippled man in John 5. Her eyes sparkled and she bubbled over with enthusiasm, as she could do on occasion. ‘I wish you had!’ she exclaimed. ‘That is my favourite story.’”
At Christmas 2016, the Queen spoke of the Bible’s importance to her: “Billions of people now follow Christ’s teaching and find in him the guiding light for their lives. I am one of them.”
We have the great joy and pleasure of congratulating the Queen on the occasion of her Platinum Jubilee. May this celebration spur us afresh to treasure the Queen’s treasure.
O Lord our heavenly Father, high and mighty, King of kings, Lord of lords, the only Ruler of princes, who dost from thy throne behold all the dwellers upon earth: Most heartily we beseech thee with thy favour to behold our most gracious Sovereign Lady Queen Elizabeth; and so replenish her with the grace of thy Holy Spirit, that she may alway incline to thy will, and walk in thy way: Endue her plenteously with heavenly gifts; grant her in health and wealth long to live; strengthen her that she may vanquish and overcome all her enemies; and finally after this life she may attain everlasting joy and felicity; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.