20 Nov 2014
Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall attended a Service of Thanksgiving for the Life of The Lady Soames LG DBE at Westminster on Thursday 20th November 2014 at Noon.
HRH The Prince of Wales represented Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh.
Her Royal Highness The Princess Alexandra, The Honourable Lady Ogilvy, also attended.
Their Royal Highnesses The Duke of York, The Earl and Countess of Wessex, The Princess Royal, The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, The Duke and Duchess of Kent, and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent were represented.
The Lady Soames was the youngest of the five children of Winston and Clementine Churchill. Mary Soames was the widow of Christopher Soames, European Commissioner and the last Governor of Southern Rhodesia. Lady Soames had a distinguished career in public life, served in the ATS in the Second World War from 1941-1946, was a successful author, patron to many charities and chaired the Royal National Theatre Board of Trustees between 1989 and 1995.
The service was conducted by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, who said in his Bidding: 'In this holy place, house of God and house of Kings, where her beloved father Winston Churchill is honoured with a permanent memorial, we assemble to give thanks to almighty God for the life and work of Mary Soames.
'We remember her war service and the times when she accompanied her father during the Second World War; her marriage to Christopher Soames and her warm family life; her commitment to the Royal National Theatre and to many charitable organisations; her writing and lecturing; and her keeping the flame alight for her parents.
'We give thanks for her energy and determination, her charm and poise, her empathy, ebullience, and sense of fun. We commend her immortal soul to the care and keeping of almighty God.'
The Address was given by the Honourable William Shawcross CVO.
Clementine Fraser, granddaughter, read from A Daughter's Tale: The Memoir of Winston Churchill's Youngest Child and Sir Richard Eyre CBE read from Racing Demon.
The Right Honourable Sir Nicholas Soames MP, son, read Romans 8: 31-39 and the Right Honourable Sir John Major KG CH read St John 14: 1-6.
Prayers were led by the Reverend Christopher Stoltz, Minor Canon and Sacrist of Westminster, and said by the Reverend Canon Roger Humphreys, former Rector of Blenheim; Emily Nicholson, granddaughter; the Reverend Canon Adrian Dufferin, Team Rector, Benefice of Blenheim; Flora Soames, granddaughter; the Reverend Canon Dr William Taylor, Vicar, St John's, Notting Hill; and the Reverend Professor Vernon White, Canon in Residence.
The service was sung by the Choir of Westminster Abbey conducted by James O'Donnell, Organist and Master of the Choristers. The organ was played by Daniel Cook, Sub-Organist. Martin Ford, Assistant organist, played before the service. Trumpeters of the Household Cavalry were directed by Trumpet Major Tim West.
The Order of Service (PDF, 758 KB)
Click on the images to enlarge