On the day that The Queen becomes the longest reigning monarch in British history there will be a special service of music and prayers at one of Britain’s most important churches to mark the historic moment. A ceremony of Choral Evensong will be held at St Paul’s Cathedral on September 9th as Elizabeth II overtakes Victoria in the record books.
The service will start at 5pm around the time which is thought to be the exact moment that The Queen passes the milestone set by Queen Victoria. And there will be more links with royal history throughout the ceremony which will be open to the public.
The Cathedral Choir will sing music originally written for Elizabeth I during the ceremony. The strains of O Lord, Make Elizabeth Thy Servant by William Byrd will echo through the famous walls of St Paul’s to celebrate the historic achievement of The Queen. And the coronation anthem, The King Shall Rejoice, by Handel will also be used in the service which will also include prayers.
The Queen is a regular visitor to St Paul’s and it was the place where she, accompanied by many members of the Royal Family, came for a service of thanksgiving for her Diamond Jubilee in June 2012. And the service of thanksgiving for her 90th birthday will take place there in June 2016.
The cathedral also provides a link with her great, great grandmother, Victoria, and her own celebrations for historic milestones in her epic reign. It was on the steps of St Paul’s that a service of thanksgiving was in June 1897 to mark her becoming the first British monarch to celebrate a Diamond Jubilee. The ceremony was moved from inside St Paul’s as, by then, Victoria was having trouble walking and the steps were thought to be too hard for her to negotiate.
And now, 118 years later, the cathedral will be the setting for celebrations marking another special moment in the history of the monarchy these two queens have helped shape.