Paddington Bear creator Michael Bond and Sir David Attenborough are to collaborate on an address for the Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral this Friday to mark the start of the Queen’s official birthday celebrations.
Reflection On The Passing of The Years—written by Bond and to be read by Sir David—is one of a series of birthday ‘gifts’ for Her Majesty and reflects the passage of the last nine decades with an exploration of life for those born in 1926.
Bond will be in the congregation for Sir David’s reading which will, no doubt, be a special moment for the two respected leaders in their fields who are also celebrating turning 90 in 2016 (on 13 January and 8 May, respectively).
Service of Thanksgiving
The sermon at the Service of Thanksgiving will be preached by The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and it is expected that almost every member of the royal family will attend. Those gathered will observe prayers led by representatives of the Royal Household, the Law, the Armed Forces, the Commonwealth and noted figures such as broadcaster Clare Balding, whose inclusion represents the Queen’s passion for horse racing.
The prayers will also pay tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh—who will be celebrating his 95th birthday on the day—with the words ‘Bless Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, that this birthday may be a day of joy.’
The service will also see the performance of an anthem written by the Master of the Queen’s music, Judith Weir. The anthem has been set to a poem by Robert Bridges, the man who served as poet laureate in the year of The Queen’s birth, 1926, and will be accompanied by music by Arnold Bax, the Queen’s first Master of Music.
The Queen’s official birthday celebrations will continue on Saturday with Trooping the Colour and The Patron’s Lunch on Sunday which will see 10,000 guests partake in a picnic on the Mall in London.