Queen Elizabeth II dies: Washington’s National Cathedral holds special service

WASHINGTON — Queen Elizabeth II was memorialized Wednesday in a ceremony at Washington’s National Cathedral that was attended by U.S. political figures, military leaders and ambassadors.

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Michael Curry, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, addressed an invited group of mourners that included Vice President Harris, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, The Washington Post reported. He incorporated the queen, Jesus, Martin Luther King Jr., Toni Morrison and Mahalia Jackson into his sermon, according to the newspaper. Curry told the audience that Elizabeth’s legacy must reflect Jesus’ call that the way to live forever is to serve others.

“We aren’t here just to consume oxygen! We are here to give back! Back to the world! Can I get an amen?” Curry asked the congregation from the Canterbury Pulpit. “We have assembled here this morning to give God thanks for the ways her majesty served, often at some personal sacrifice. Her commitment to serving others was a common refrain by commentators and people who stood in lines, sometimes up to 16 and 17 hours to pay their respects, and to say thank you.”

The National Cathedral is also the seat of the U.S. Episcopal Church, which began as a branch of the Church of England in the early 1600s, according to the Post.

On Monday, the Queen was laid to rest at Windsor Castle following a state funeral at Westminster Hall. World leaders, including President Joe Biden, attended the funeral, WJLA-TV reported.

The British Embassy co-hosted the service, CNN reported. Music during the ceremony included the United Kingdom’s national anthem, “God Save the King,” and “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Dame Karen Pierce, the British ambassador to the U.S., was one of many dignitaries to speak at the service, WJLA reported.

“The queen was a great friend and admirer of the United States,” Pierce said. “She paid some six official visits in total -- many more to the Kentucky stables -- addressing Congress as well as speaking to presidents and attending football and baseball games and commemorative events such as America’s bicentennial and the 400th anniversary of the Jamestown settlement.

“The queen sought to move with the times. She was indeed the archetypal Bond girl, parachuting into the London Olympics. She poured tea for Paddington Bear as well as for heads of state,” Pierce continued. “And here in the United States she was honored to receive in December 2021 the Ruth Bader Ginsburg award for women in leadership -- one of the very few times, we believe, that the queen accepted a non-state award.”

The National Cathedral has hosted four state funerals for former Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush, CNN reported. President Woodrow Wilson is also buried at the cathedral.

Earlier this year, the cathedral hosted former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s funeral.