On 16th November 2020 the House of Lords heard a Government statement about plans to mark HM the Queen’s platinum jubilee. The Bishop of Salisbury responded:
The Lord Bishop of Salisbury: My Lords, I speak for all the Lords spiritual in welcoming this Statement about the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. It is a great privilege for me to be here in person this week and to pray each day with 30 or so Members before the business of this House commences in a way that is currently not allowed in any of the churches or cathedrals in this country.
Has ever a prayer been so fully answered as that for the Queen?
Grant her in health and wealth long to live … Long to reign over us. God save the Queen.
Before becoming the Bishop of Salisbury, I used to be the vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields, which is known as the royal parish church. Like every parish church, the whole community belongs there—the homeless and royalty. In praying for the Queen, we pray for the whole community. I particularly pay tribute to Her Majesty’s recent visit to Porton Down in recognition of the remarkable role played there in addressing the issues faced by the people of Salisbury following the Novichok poisonings.
At her Coronation, the Queen was consecrated like a priest. She rules under God and the Government rule under the Queen, not in the self-referential way in which a nation is its own arbiter. In welcoming the proposals to celebrate a long and remarkable reign, I am sure that we will all pray and sing
May she defend our laws,
And ever give us cause,
To sing with heart and voice,
God save the Queen.
In the light of all that, how does the Minister see the religious nature of this Platinum Jubilee celebration of Her Majesty’s central role as a religious figure?
Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con): I agree wholeheartedly with everything that the right reverend Prelate has said, and indeed, he did so earlier in Prayers before the Sitting of your Lordships’ House. He is absolutely right that the role of Her Majesty the Queen as Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England are central to her role as monarch, and she has taken that extremely seriously since her coronation. The Royal Household and Her Majesty’s Government are in discussions with the Church of England to ensure that that too is properly recognised in the Platinum Jubilee.