The Queen held a face-to-face audience with The Archbishop of Canterbury today, and received a special award: the Canterbury Cross.
Her Majesty was given the Canterbury Cross to recognise her contribution to the Church of England over her 70-year reign.
Presented in a vivid red box and attached to a blue ribbon, the cross was specially crafted for its royal recipient with platinum inserts, in recognition of her milestone 70 years on the throne.
The Queen, in glasses and a cream and pink floral dressed, was shown the cross by Justin Welby in the Oak Room at Windsor Castle.
Welby is the most senior Bishop in the Church of England, and leads the church spiritually, though is deputy to the Monarch, who is Supreme Governor of the Church of England and Defender of the Faith.
The Queen has, of course, served in this role for her entire reign, and it is well-known that faith is a core part of her life. The most obvious time this is highlighted is during her Christmas broadcasts.
Elizabeth II was also given a citation for the cross which was presented in the form of a framed piece of calligraphy.
In the citation, the Archbishop praised the 96-year old Monarch and hailed ‘her care for the unity of her people and the welfare of the least fortunate’ as a ‘constant inspiration to the whole church’.
The citation read: “Throughout her reign, Her Majesty has duly upheld both the Christian religion and the Church of England in her roles as Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England. Whether in the formality of opening sessions of General Synod or the more intimate context of her personal addresses to the nation and Commonwealth at Christmas, Her Majesty has made manifest her own deep faith and its relevance to all that she undertakes.
“Her subtle understanding of the changing position of the Established Church in England has sustained and encouraged laity and clergy alike. Her care for the unity of her people and the welfare of the least fortunate have been a constant inspiration to the whole Church. Hers is an example of the Christian life well-led.
“This presentation of the Canterbury Cross is a heartfelt symbol of the love, loyalty and affection in which the Church of England holds Her Majesty and it represents the recognition and gratitude of her whole Church for her 70 years of unstinting service. God Save The Queen!”
The Canterbury Cross is presented each year as part of the Lambeth Awards to a number of recipients who have shown outstanding service to the church.
The Award came after The Queen was forced to miss the public procession during Garter Day and made no appearances at Royal Ascot last week. This was due to her experiencing ongoing mobility issues.