Archbishop of Canterbury pulls out of Queen's Jubilee service due to Covid and pneumonia

30 May 2022, 13:38 | Updated: 30 May 2022, 14:28

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has dropped out of the Queen's Jubilee service.
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has dropped out of the Queen's Jubilee service. Picture: Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has pulled out of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee service at St Paul's Cathedral due to having Covid-19 and pneumonia.

Lambeth Palace said the Archbishop of Canterbury tested positive for Covid-19 on Monday and has been suffering with mild pneumonia since last week.

The Archbishop of York, the Most Revd Stephen Cottrell, will now deliver the sermon at Friday’s Service of Thanksgiving.

Lambeth Palace said the Archbishop was continuing to work after being struck down with pneumonia, but after developing symptoms over the weekend he tested for coronavirus.

He was also due to light a beacon at Lambeth Palace on Thursday evening as part of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee Beacons events.

The Lambeth Palace beacon will be lit on the Archbishop's behalf.

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In a statement, the Most Revd Justin Welby said: "I am deeply saddened to be missing the historic celebration of Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. However, I will be praying for The Queen and giving thanks for her extraordinary seventy years of service to us all. I will also be praying for our nation at this time of celebration and thanksgiving. May The Queen’s example bring us together in unity and care for one another.

"For those attending Friday’s service at St Paul’s Cathedral, and the millions watching on television, I hope this joyful occasion will inspire us with The Queen’s profound commitment to fostering unity and peace among all people – and to promoting care for the natural world that God has given us. Led by the love of Jesus Christ, The Queen has lived her life for the benefit of others: l pray we find inspiration from Her Majesty over the Jubilee weekend and long into the future.

"Meanwhile as we continue to live with coronavirus, I pray too for all those who are still suffering and everyone who continues to mourn loved ones they have lost during the pandemic. May you each know the love and comfort of God.

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The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations programme

"As we prepare to celebrate the first Platinum Jubilee in our nation’s history, may God save The Queen, and bless her with the knowledge of our profound love and gratitude for her service to us all."

The Archbishop was diagnosed with mild pneumonia on Thursday last week and, under medical advice, was continuing to work but with a reduced schedule to allow for rest and recovery.

He is resting at home and avoiding contact with others, and has cancelled all engagements this week since his positive test result.

It is unclear if the Queen will attend the thanksgiving service at St Paul's, but if she does there will be no ceremonial journey to the cathedral and she will use a different entrance from the steep main steps.

Wider members of the royal family are expected to be present including possibly the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and the Duke of York, and the service will be followed by a Guildhall reception for them.

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A special four-day bank holiday will commence from Thursday allowing Brits to celebrate the Queen's 70-year reign and the royals have revealed how they plan to mark the occasion.

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall will meet guests at a feast at The Oval cricket ground in south London, while the Earl and Countess of Wessex will join members of the local community in Windsor.

The get-togethers are part of the Big Jubilee Lunches, which includes events ranging from world record attempts for the longest street party to back garden BBQs and "everything in between", organisers say.

More than 85,000 people have signed up to host Big Jubilee Lunches, the official community celebration for the Platinum Jubilee.

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