Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have been reunited with the royal family at a special service of thanksgiving for the Queen’s Jubilee this morning.
It is the couple’s first public appearance together at a royal event since they quit the monarchy for a new life in the US two years ago.
Other royals who attended the service at St Paul’s Cathedral in London included Prince William and his wife Kate.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson was booed by the watching crowd when he turned up with his wife Carrie.
They are among 2,000 people who filled the historic church to pay tribute to the Queen’s “70 years of faithful and dedicated service”.
The Prince of Wales represented his mother after the 96-year-old monarch pulled out of the event at short notice.
She suffered “discomfort” following a busy first day of festivities including a double balcony appearance and a beacon lighting.
The Queen, who has been facing ongoing mobility difficulties, will be watching the ceremony on television on Friday as she rests at Windsor Castle.
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The bells are chiming again
12:24 , Joe Middleton
The Royal Family are set to depart St Paul’s Cathedral after the Service of Thanksgiving to mark the Queen’s Jubilee.
Platinum Jubilee: Meghan Markle praised for ‘understated’ outfit at Service of Thanksgiving
12:18 , Joe Middleton
The Duchess of Sussex has been praised for her sophisticated outfit choice for the Service of Thanksgiving to mark the Queen’s Jubilee.
On Friday, members of the royal family gathered at St Paul’s Cathedral as part of the bank holiday celebrations marking the Queen’s 70th year on the throne.
While the monarch herself was not in attendance due after experiencing “some discomfort” during Thursday’s platinum jubilee celebrations, Buckingham Palace said.
Olivia Petter reports.
The Archbishop of York’s full sermon
12:07 , Joe Middleton
“‘Bring your supplications and thanksgivings to God’ says St Paul. ‘Then the peace of God will guard your heart and mind… and keep on doing the things that you see in me.’ (Philippians 4.6,7 & 9)
“Of course, the ‘me’ in that sentence is Paul himself. But Paul is only worth following because he is following Jesus. And Jesus is worth following because Jesus shows us who God is, and what our humanity could be. And there are many occasions in the gospels where we see Jesus himself, faithful to his vocation, seeking out places of replenishing so that he can learn God’s way.
“‘I only do what I see the Father doing’, says Jesus (see John 5. 19).
“‘He is close to God’s heart’, says St John (see John 1.18).
“Sometimes I wonder whether the whole Christian faith is best understood as an invitation to dwell there ourselves.
“And the purpose of the Christian faith is to know and to do God’s will.
“We gather today in great rejoicing to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty the Queen, but we do it against a backdrop of such suffering and uncertainty in our world.
“For me, the best leaders – like Paul, like Jesus – are those who know how to be led. People who lead for others, not themselves. People whose heart’s desire is to serve the common good and build up the common life; who don’t try to do it all themselves, or act in their own strength alone; people who take a longer view; and who seek out places of replenishing, even places where they might learn the mind of Christ.
“And I say this today, knowing that in Her Majesty the Queen we see an example of this kind of service; a staunch constancy and a steadfast consistency; a faithfulness to God, an obedience to a vocation that is the bedrock of her life.
“No, bedrock isn’t quite the right image.
“Faith in Jesus Christ is a fountain, and it is a well.
“It is the well from which we draw deeply and replenish ourselves through all the challenges, joys, and vicissitudes of life.
“And it is a fountain, overflowing with immense joy. Joy, that we can live in the assurance that we are loved; joy, that God has a purpose for our lives; and, joy, that through Christ’s dying and rising there is the promise of life eternal.
“It is well known that Her Majesty likes horse racing. I don’t have any great tips for the Derby tomorrow, but since the scriptures describe life as a race set before us, let me observe that her long reign reflects the distance of Aintree more than the sprints of Epsom. Certainly, less dressage than most people imagine. But with endurance, through times of change and challenge, joy and sorrow, she continues to offer herself in the service of our country and the commonwealth. Your Majesty, we’re sorry you’re not with us this morning in person, but you are still in the saddle. And we are all glad that there is still more to come.
“So, thank you for staying the course. Thank you for continuing to be faithful to the pledges you made 70 years ago. Thank you for showing us how service and faithfulness matter. People of all faiths and none can learn from this.
“Sometimes people say to me that the Christian faith is just a prop. I couldn’t agree more. I’m not ashamed to say I lean on Jesus Christ, that I’m trying to live close to his heart. That I need his wisdom and his hope. And if you will forgive such presumption, this is what I also see in you.
“And to the people of our great nation, I say this: we are indeed living in a time of uncertainty and challenge, and we would do well to consider where we will find the replenishing we need.
“What I see in Her Majesty the Queen is someone who has been able to serve our nation faithfully because of her faith in Jesus Christ. Perhaps there is no better way of celebrating her Platinum Jubilee than by doing the same ourselves.”
Archbishop of York thanks Queen for ‘staying the course’
12:01 , Joe Middleton
The Queen is “still in the saddle”, the Archbishop of York has said, as he thanked her for “staying the course”.
In his sermon at the special service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral, The Most Rev Stephen Cottrell compared the monarch’s well-known love of horse racing to her long reign, suggesting it “reflects the distance of Aintree more than the sprints of Epsom”.
During his sermon, Mr Cottrell told the congregation, which included senior members of the royal family, he was “sorry” the Queen could not attend, but glad there is “still more to come”.
He said: “It is well known that Her Majesty likes horse racing.
“I don’t have any great tips for the Derby tomorrow, but since the scriptures describe life as a race set before us, let me observe that her long reign reflects the distance of Aintree more than the sprints of Epsom.
“Certainly, less dressage than most people imagine.
“But with endurance, through times of change and challenge, joy and sorrow, she continues to offer herself in the service of our country and the Commonwealth.
“Your Majesty, we’re sorry you’re not with us this morning in person, but you are still in the saddle. And we are all glad that there is still more to come.”
Mr Cottrell stepped in at late notice to deliver the sermon after the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, contracted Covid-19.