Former Archbishop of York John Sentamu said the Queen told him she didn’t want a “long, boring” funeral.
Speaking on BBC Sunday, Sentamu discussed his conversations with the Queen surrounding death.
He also said the Queen wrote him a letter describing her public grievance after Prince Philip died.
The former Archbishop of York John Sentamu said in an interview Sunday that Queen Elizabeth II told him she didn’t want a “long, boring” funeral service.
The interview aired on BBC’s “Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg” ahead of the late monarch’s funeral on Monday morning. Sentamu, who served as Archbishop of York from 2005 to 2020, said he’s been involved in planning the Queen’s funeral service for the last 17 years.
“The Queen does not and did not want what you call long, boring services,” he said.
When asked if the royal told him that directly, he replied, “Oh yeah, yeah, yeah,” The Telegraph reports.
Sentamu shared more details about the upcoming event, noting that viewers can listen for “angelic voices of the choir of the Abbey plus the Chapels Royal” and “wonderful English at its best” from 1662 funeral prayer books. The former archbishop said he doesn’t think the funeral will be boring but will instead warm people’s hearts and “lift them to glory.”
Sentamu also revealed that the Queen wrote him a letter four weeks after Prince Philip’s funeral, who she was married to for 73 years. He said she thanked him for his support and ended the letter by writing, “When you are grieving someone deeply you love, it isn’t easy when you’re having to do it in public.”
“My thought would be, to the new king and the whole Royal Family, they are grieving publicly and to find a space to do it,” he said.
In closing, the clergyman recalled visiting the Queen in 2018 to request permission to step down as archbishop. He said he asked the Queen to pray for him and she stood with her hands around his for three silent minutes.
“I would be saying [to the Queen]’Ma’am, on that day — twelfth of July, 2018 — you lifted my burden.'”
The Queen’s lying-in-state period will end on Monday before her funeral, an event that’s expected to draw 2,000 attendees to Westminster Abbey in London. The funeral will also be televised, with billions of people expected to tune into the service.
Since her death at age 96 on September 8, members of the royal family spoke out about their grievance.
Prince William shared in a September 10 statement that he feels “incredibly grateful” even as he mourns the loss of his grandmother, who he called “Grannie.” In a BBC interview released on Sunday, Camilla, the Queen Consort, said her royal mother-in-law had beautiful blue eyes and a smile she’ll never forget.
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