Inspired by Queen Elizabeth II's strong Christian faith, a 43-year-old evangelist and missionary stood in long queues seven times to see the monarch's coffin in Edinburgh before it left for London.
“I am a Christian, a really strong Christian, and she lived her life, faith was central to her life and essential to my life,” Elizabeth Sabey, who worked as a missionary in Cambodia, told The Telegraph before departing on her eighth visit. “It felt so peaceful and beautiful. … I just felt God’s presence, like a unity among people, no divisions.”
The longest-serving monarch in British history died last Thursday at her holiday home at Balmoral Castle in Scotland at the age of 96.
“I don’t think it’s a coincidence that she passed away in Scotland, it was all, I feel, divinely orchestrated. ... I just think that’s how it’s meant to be,” said the evangelist.
Sabey said the queen’s speeches, especially at Christmas, would bring tears to her eyes. “To hear somebody at the pinnacle of our country and yet she has a very vibrant, living, real, genuine faith, it wasn’t just something that a monarch needs to do, it was something genuine and deep.”
Charles III was officially proclaimed king by the Accession Council in a ceremony at St. James’ Palace in London on Saturday morning.
The state funeral for the queen, who was the head of the Church of England during her reign, has been scheduled to take place at Westminster Abbey in London at 11 a.m. local time on Monday.
A church leader close to the late Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, revealed in a media interview back last April that he had “persuaded” the queen, his wife, to talk more about her Christian faith ahead of her Christmas broadcast in 2000.
“[Prince Philip] was the person really who encouraged the queen to talk about her own faith in her Christmas broadcasts,” the Rev. Ian Bradley, the author of God Save the Queen, told Premier Christian News at the time.
In a 2016 book ahead of her 90th birthday, the queen reflected on Jesus’ central role in her life.
“I have been — and remain — very grateful to you for your prayers and to God for His steadfast love,” the British monarch wrote in the foreword to The Servant Queen and the King She Serves. “I have indeed seen His faithfulness.”
The queen’s oak coffin, which was placed in the Ballroom of Balmoral Castle in Scotland after her death, departed last Sunday by car on a six-hour journey to the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, the official residence of the British monarch in Scotland, the BBC said earlier.
It was then transported slowly by hearse through Aberdeen, Dundee and by Perth before it lay in the palace’s Throne Room until Monday afternoon. King Charles III and members of the royal family then accompanied the coffin in procession to St Giles’ Cathedral, where a service was held, and the coffin lay at the cathedral until Tuesday, allowing the public to view her coffin.
The coffin was then flown back to London, and the queen will lie in state in Westminster Hall for four days before her funeral, allowing members of the public to file past and pay their respects.