The Worth community paid its respects to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in a special gathering this morning.
Students and staff assembled in the Abbey Church for an act of remembrance, thanksgiving and prayer.
Head Master Mr Stuart McPherson spoke of The Queen’s “extraordinary service to the people of this country and to millions around the world”.
He added: “The Queen has been a stabilising force for good through good times and bad, from the destruction and suffering of World War Two, when as Princess alongside her father King George VI and her mother Queen Elizabeth she gave solace and courage to so many in the face of war, to the COVID pandemic towards the end of her life when again her enduring spirit gave heart to people in a time of great challenge.”
Prayers were led by Abbot Mark.
RIP HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN
Here is a full transcript of what Mr McPherson said in our special assembly this morning:
"We gather this morning to express our sadness and our respect for Her Majesty the Queen, who died yesterday at the age of 96 after more than 70 years as Queen of the United Kingdom and the 14 realms of the Commonwealth.
"Queen Elizabeth II's life was one of extraordinary service to the people of this country, and to millions around the world. Over her many years as Queen she performed thousands and thousands of official appointments – from grand affairs of state to much more ordinary visits, to care homes, hospitals, schools, soup-kitchens, military barracks, horse races, cattle shows. I doubt there is any kind of institution or event she didn't visit more than once over her lifetime, and I'm sure that there are many here this morning who encountered her on one of those thousands of visits and was buoyed by her presence.
"Everyone will have been struck by the photographs of the Queen greeting Miss Truss on Tuesday this week, just two days before her death – clearly very frail, but smiling, on her feet and at work, receiving as the Head of State her 15th prime minister with the same dignity and grace she had the previous 14 since her first, Winston Churchill, in 1952. Could there be a more powerful image of the strength and profound sense of duty she brought to every of those many thousands of formal engagements?
"The death of Queen Elizabeth is momentous in the history of the United Kingdom. Over the 70 years of her reign, the Queen has been a stabilising force for good through good times and bad. From the destruction and suffering of World War Two when, as princess alongside her father King George VI and mother Queen Elizabeth, she gave solace and courage to so many in the face of war, to the COVID pandemic towards the end of her life, when – again – her enduring spirit gave heart to people in a time of great challenge, the Queen has always given others – politicians, prime ministers, ordinary people, us – a wonderful example of humility and strength in the highest of offices.
"There can be few better examples of this humility than the statement she made on the occasion of her 21st birthday on 21 April 1947: ‘I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service.’
"On the occasion of her Silver Jubilee, 30 years later, the Queen reflected on those words: ‘When I was 21, I pledged my life to the service of our people and I asked for God’s help to make good that vow. Although that vow was made in my salad days, when I was green in judgement, I do not regret, or retract, one word of it.’
"This humility is born of her deep Christian faith. In her whole life, the Queen only wrote the foreword to one book – a book with the title, The Servant Queen and the King She Serves, which was published by the Bible Society to mark her 90th birthday. The book poses the question: 'What’s the secret of the Queen’s remarkable consistency of character and extraordinary contribution to nation, Commonwealth and the global community?’
"The Queen answers this question in her own words: 'I know just how much I rely on my faith to guide me through the good times and the bad … I know that the only way to live my life is to try to do what is right, to take the long view, to give of my best in all that the day brings, and to put my trust in God … I draw strength from the message of hope in the Christian gospel.'
"In her Christmas message at the turn of the millennium, the Queen said the following: ‘To many of us, our beliefs are of fundamental importance. For me the teachings of Christ and my own personal accountability before God provide a framework in which I try to lead my life. I, like so many of you, have drawn great comfort in difficult times from Christ’s words and example.’
"As Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster, said in a statement yesterday, [the Queen’s] faith, so often and so eloquently proclaimed in her public messages, has been an inspiration to me, and I am sure to many. The wisdom, stability and service which she consistently embodied, often in circumstances of extreme difficulty, are a shining legacy and testament to her faith.
"As we gather this morning, and in the prayers that Abbot Mark will now lead, let us remember with gratitude Queen Elizabeth, the example of humble service she offered to all people of good will and the inspiration of Christian courage and conviction on which she based her whole life as monarch.
"God save the King."