14 / 09 / 22
By Phil Champain, Director of the Faith & Belief Forum
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was a people’s monarch with an ability and appetite for connecting with others, from all backgrounds. She also spoke openly about her Christian faith and how it provided a framework for her life. Of course, she will also be remembered for her strong sense of duty, her sense of humour, and much more besides.
She came into the life of the Faith & Belief Forum towards the end of her reign when we began a close engagement with her Greater London Lieutenancy (GLL) about six years ago. The Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London, Sir Kenneth Olisa, is His Majesty’s Representative in Greater London and his role is to uphold the dignity of the Crown and to follow the example of the monarch by improving the well-being of Londoners. His Council of Faith, chaired by David Dangoor CBE DL, supports our annual Faith & Belief Community Awards which shines a light on those faith-based charities which do so much, so selflessly.
The death of the Queen has made me reflect on this important link between our awards and the Crown. Working to improve the lives of others through one’s faith is something I think the late Queen Elizabeth II related to. This was very apparent in 2019 when she invited many of our award winners, along with other people of faith, to an interfaith reception at Buckingham Palace. She welcomed every one of the 160 guests personally, very aware of the soft power she had to push forward the importance of interfaith and to show her recognition of the role faith-based charities play in our lives, no matter what creed.
During her reign the late Queen bore witness to seismic social, political, economic, and technological change. Amidst all this change she remained a figure of uncorruptible continuity, steadfast in her commitment to service and duty. I would like to think some of this has rubbed off on us at F&BF where we remain committed to our interfaith mission, and to our engagement with the Crown through the GLL and the Faith & Belief Community Awards.
It seems wholly appropriate that this year the awards ceremony will be at Westminster Abbey, where the late Queen was married to Prince Philip on July 8, 1947, and later crowned in June 1953. Seventy years later we mourn her passing and celebrate her outstanding leadership and deep legacy. Rest in peace Queen Elizabeth. God save the King.