Home Royal NewsPrince Charles and Camilla The Queen & Camilla celebrate Westminster Abbey’s 750th anniversary in rare joint outing

The Queen & Camilla celebrate Westminster Abbey’s 750th anniversary in rare joint outing

by Hayley Todd

Yesterday, The Queen was accompanied by The Duchess of Cornwall to attend a service at Westminster Abbey, marking the 750th anniversary of the iconic church.

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Her Majesty, 93 and her daughter-in-law, 72, made a rare joint appearance. It is extremely uncommon for The Queen and Camilla to step out without Prince Charles, Camilla’s husband of 14 years. Their last engagement as a duo was in 2018, when the pair marked the 10th anniversary of Camilla’s patronage, Medical Detection Dogs.

They were both in excellent spirits and full of smiles as they were welcomed to the Abbey by the Very Reverend, John Hall, the Dean of Westminster and the Westminster Sub-Dean, the Venerable David Stanton.

The service commemorated the consecration of the re-building of Edward the Confessor’s church under Henry III’s reign (1216-1272).

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The King was devoted to Edward the Confessor – who preceded the Norman conquest of 1066 – and the new Abbey was designed in the French Gothic style. It was officially consecrated on 13th October 1269 and went on to become the magnificent Abbey we know today, one of a handful of royal peculiars.

The celebration was attended by over 2,000 people from across all faiths and communities. The Abbey is still a fully working church and holds services every day.

Westminster Abbey has extremely strong ties with the monarchy. It has been the setting for every Coronation since 1066.  Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II attended her father, King George VI’s Coronation in 1937. She wrote her memories of the day in an essay to her parents, called ‘To Mummy and Papa, In Memory of Their Coronation. From Lilibet, by Herself.’ She wrote: ‘I thought it all very, very wonderful.’ The Queen’s own Coronation was held 16 years later on 2nd June 1953.

The Queen at her Coronation on 2nd June 1953 at Westminster Abbey, by Cecil Beaton(© Queen Elizabeth II/Royal Collection Trust)

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The Abbey has held 16 royal weddings: The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh married there in 1947 and most recently the marriage of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2011. The tradition of royal weddings being held at the Abbey dates back to 1100, when Henry I married Princess Matilda of Scotland.

To mark the importance of the occasion, some of the Abbey’s most important treasures went on display.  These included two precious 13th-century manuscripts from Henry III’s reign. One of these charters from 1242 stated Henry’s wishes to be buried alongside Edward the Confessor. His express wishes for his burial established the Abbey as the final resting place for future Monarchs.

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Along with 30 kings and Queens, including Mary I and Elizabeth I, over 3,300 famous figures are either buried or commemorated at the Abbey. These include individuals from the worlds of art, literature and science, and include Geoffrey Chaucer, Charles Dickens and Rudyard Kipling. The Abbey has also played host to many royal funerals, including Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997.

On the High Altar was the Anglo-Saxon Royal Charter issued by King Edgar in 960. This land grant established the very first Benedictine monastery on the land where the Abbey now stands. Alongside it was The Litlyington Missal. This is a book of service, created by Nicholas Litlyington, the Abbot of Westminster from 1362-1386. Also to be seen was a fragment of the shroud from The Shrine of St. Edward the Confessor, who ordered the building of the second Abbey Church, which was consecrated in 1065.

The Queen and Camilla watched the service from their seats in the South Lantern.

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The Dean of Westminster opened the service of celebration with the words: “Today we celebrate the history of this Abbey and its Church and mark it’s continuing significance as a place of worship and of memorial, standing firmly for faith at the heart of our nation and Commonwealth and of the wider world.”

The service featured wonderful highlights, including the Westminster Abbey Choir performing a new work written by Matthew Martin, Fellow and Director of Music at Keble College, Oxford, commissioned especially for the 750th anniversary.

The Dean of Westminster gave a sermon filled with reflections on the Abbey’s history and the special place it holds in the life of  the nation.  He said:  “The Abbey stands with the Palace of Westminster, Whitehall and the Supreme Court at the heart of our nation.”

Queen Elizabeth II, accompanied by the Duchess of Cornwall, attend a service to celebrate the 750th anniversary of Westminster Abbey. Picture by Pete Maclaine / i-Images

Westminster Abbey’s Company of Bellringers performed a full-peal of 5,750 Stedman Caters to celebrate the anniversary.

Following the hour long service, The Very Reverend John Hall said how wonderful it was to have both The Queen and The Duchess of Cornwall at the celebration. As they were leaving the Abbey. Her Majesty was presented with her bouquet by Margaret Payne, 10, who is the daughter of The Keeper of the Muniments at the Abbey. Camilla, was presented with her posy by Theo, aged 9, Margaret’s younger brother.

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2 comments

Alexandra Romanov Rodrigues Cuco October 16, 2019 - 11:00 pm

Amazing I love Westminter

Reply
Yumiko Kokuryu October 17, 2019 - 1:26 am

Very impressed to see Queen Elizabeth Ⅱ and Camilla together

Reply

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