10 May 2015
Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh attended a Service of Thanksgiving Marking the 70th Anniversary of Victory in Europe at Westminster Abbey on Sunday 10th May 2015.
They were accompanied by Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall; His Royal Highness The Duke of York; His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex; and His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent.
The Prime Minister, the Right Honourable David Cameron MP, also attended.
The service was conducted by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, who said in his Bidding: 'On Victory in Europe Day seventy years ago, 25,000 people came to services of thanksgiving held throughout the day and evening here in Westminster Abbey. We today share the spirit of that day of rejoicing.
'We give thanks for the valour and bravery of the sailors, soldiers, airmen, and civilians who gave all they had, and for the determination and skill of their leaders. We pray that the peace they won through victory over cruelty and oppression may be a blessing in our day for Europe and for the whole world.
'Humbly, we remember the sacrifice of those who gave their lives.'
Her Majesty The Queen laid a wreath at the Grave of the Unknown Warrior.
The Address was given by the Most Reverend and Right Honourable Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Primate of All England and Metropolitan.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach KCB CBE ADC DL, Vice Chief of the Defence Staff, read Isaiah 58: 6-9a, 11-12 and the Prime Minister read Romans 8: 31-39.
Simon Russell Beale CBE, actor, read an extract from the VE Day Speech of His Majesty King George VI.
Prayers were led by the Reverend Christopher Stoltz, Minor Canon and Sacrist, and read by Able Cadet Rebecca Holloway; Barbara Hurman, a VE Day veteran; Cadet Warrant Officer Jordy Black; George Riley, Student Vice President, Harris Westminster Sixth Form; Cadet Staff Sergeant Charlotte Connor, and the Reverend Jane Sinclair, Canon in Residence.
A General Thanksgiving was led by the Reverend Dr James Hawkey, Minor Canon and Precentor, and the Act of Rededication was read by John Wilson, a VE Day veteran; Zoë Churchill, great-great-granddaughter of the wartime Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill; and the Right Reverend Nigel McCulloch kcvo, National Chaplain, Royal British Legion.
The Choir of Westminster Abbey, conducted by James O'Donnell, Organist and Master of the Choristers, sang an anthem specially commissioned for the service from Judith Weir, Master of The Queen's Music. The anthem comprised verses from Psalm 136 which were said hourly in services of thanksgiving at the Abbey on 8th May 1945. The organ was played by Daniel Cook, Sub Organist. Martin Ford, Assistant Organist, played before the service.
The National Anthem was sung. Last Post and Reveille were sounded.
The State Trumpeters of the Household Cavalry were directed by Major Craig Hallatt and the Band of the Welsh Guards was directed by Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Roberts.
After the service four VE Day veterans were presented to Her Majesty The Queen. They were: Gladys Benton, Barbara Weatherill, Eric Buckley and Bernard Morgan
Her Majesty The Queen also accepted a posy from Florence Dalton and Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall accepted a posy from Rosie Dalton.
When the service ended the bells of the Abbey church were fired (struck simultaneously) seventy times, followed by 570 changes of Stedman Caters. Church bells were fired in celebration throughout the United Kingdom on 8th May 1945.
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