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Archbishop of Canterbury praises Queen for 60 years of 'commitment'

The Archbishop of Canterbury has praised the Queen for sacrificing her own life and desires for the sake of the country.

The Most Revd Justin Welby delivered the sermon at the service to celebrate the Sixtieth Anniversary of Her Majesty The Queen's Coronation.

During the service in Westminster Abbey in London, the Archbishop reflected on the moment 60 years ago when her Majesty knelt before the altar at the same Abbey in silent prayer, before taking the throne. 

He said:

"Her Majesty knelt at the beginning of a path of demanding devotion and utter self-sacrifice, a path she did not choose, yet to which she was called by God. Today we celebrate sixty years since that moment, sixty years of commitment.

"Liberty is only real when it exists under authority. Liberty under authority  begins, as the Book of Common Prayer puts it, with our duty to God, "whose service is perfect freedom". 

"We live in a hierarchy of liberty under authority that ascends to God's limitless love. As we see in the life of Jesus, with God justice and mercy are perfectly joined, wisdom is unlimited, generosity is unstinting, and love pours out to the whole world in an overwhelming embrace that is offered universally and abundantly.

"A nation that crowns its head of state with such a model of liberty under authority expresses commitment to the same glorious values for itself."

The Queen was accompanied by more than 20 members of her family, including the Duke of Edinburgh, who pulled out of an engagement on Monday night because he was feeling unwell. Her Majesty and Prince Philip entered Westminster Abbey to the same music that greeted her in 1953.

Back then, aged 27, she was the 38th sovereign to be crowned in an Abbey that has been conducting such ceremonies since the Coronation of William the Conqueror in 1066. Revd Jenny Pathmarajah is a Methodist Minister who took part in today's ceremony.

She told Premier's Marcus Jones during the News Hour what it was like:

The Queen was greeted by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Revd Dr John Hall, at the Great West Door of the Abbey, where kings and queens have been crowned since 1066. And the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Rt Revd Lorna Hood also attended and led one of the prayers giving thanks for the Queen's long reign. Arthur Edwards - a royal photographer told Premier's Marcus Jones on the News Hour it was a joyous occasion:

Her Majesty wore an Angela Kelly dress, hat and coat - made from oyster-coloured silk-satin brocade - for the service. She was joined at the Abbey by the Prince of Wales - who was just four in 1953 - and the Duchess of Cornwall, as well as the Duke of Cambridge and the pregnant Duchess of Cambridge. Outside, crowds lined the streets of central London, some had travelled miles to be part of the event. Premier's Des Busteed spoke to these people outside the Abbey:

The Queen's coronation, which took place at Westminster Abbey on June 2, 1953, was witnessed by 8,200 guests and watched by an estimated 27 million people on television. The nation watched spellbound as the Queen, just 27 years old, played the central figure in the centuries-old ceremony.

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