Cheering crowds greet Harry and Meghan at St Paul's before Queen's thanksgiving service

2 June 2022, 22:48 | Updated: 3 June 2022, 12:25

Harry and Meghan were greeted with cheers as they arrived at St Paul's
Harry and Meghan were greeted with cheers as they arrived at St Paul's. Picture: Alamy/Getty

By Asher McShane

Over four hundred people who have made a positive difference to the lives of others have been invited to the Queen's Platinum Jubilee service of thanksgiving at St Paul's, but the monarch herself will not attend.

Key workers, charity volunteers and members of the armed forces have all been invited in recognition of their contribution to public life and they began filing in on Friday morning, some stopping to get photos in front of the cathedral.

Harry and Meghan arrived ahead of Prince Charles to cheers from onlookers, and all eyes were on he couple as they walked down the cathedral aisle to take their seats in the second-from-front row.

Prince William and Kate also got a good reception from the crowd gathered outside, as did Prince Charles, who deputised for the Queen in her absence.

Kate's pale yellow dress was by Emilia Wickstead and she wore a Philip Treacy hat, while Camilla wore ivory and gold embroidered coat dress by Fiona Clare and hat by Philip Treacy.

Boris Johnson was greeted with boos and jeers as he arrived by car and walked up the steps smiling with wife Carrie.

Former prime ministers Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and Theresa May were among the dignitaries to arrive on Friday morning.

The Queen herself did not attend after experiencing "some discomfort" during Thursday's events following previous mobility issues.

Harry and Meghan were all smiles ahead of the service
Harry and Meghan were all smiles ahead of the service. Picture: Getty
Boris Johnson was jeered as he arrived at St Paul's
Boris Johnson was jeered as he arrived at St Paul's. Picture: Alamy

Senior members of the monarchy attending included the Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who will be joined by the extended royal family.

Charles officially represented the Queen at the service, which included a sermon from the Archbishop of York, who made remarks about the Queen's faith. The monarch was due to watch it on TV at Windsor Castle.

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The Duke of York was expected to attend but has now withdrawn after testing positive for Covid.

The Dean of St Paul's, Dr David Ison, said in The Bidding: "We come together in this Cathedral Church today to offer to God our thanks and praise for the reign of Her Majesty the Queen and especially for her 70 years of faithful and dedicated service.

"As we gather from communities across her realm and the Commonwealth of Nations, we rejoice in the diverse and varied lives of all those whom she serves, and in the beauty and abundance of the world in which we live.

"Inspired by words and music, we pray that God will continue to bless and guide Her Majesty, and that we may all receive grace to honour life and to live in harmony with one another; and we continue to pray for those whose lives are marred by conflict, suffering and tragedy.

"And mindful of the call of God to look to the needs of others, we commit ourselves afresh to caring for our world and all for whom it is home, striving always to seek out and nurture that which is good in people and in all creation."

Those invited in recognition of their service have all been recipients of honours in the New Year or Birthday Honours lists and their number also includes public servants and representatives from social enterprises and voluntary groups.

Mr Johnson gave a New Testament reading, and members of his Cabinet were among the guests along with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.

The diplomatic world were represented by high commissioners and ambassadors from across the world and also attending are governors general and clergy from world faiths.

The Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell gave the sermon after the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby tested positive for Covid. The Dean of the Chapel Royal, Dame Sarah Mullally, Bishop of London, gave the Collect and the Blessing, and the Dean of St Paul's conducted the service.

Young people representing countries where the Queen is head of state lead the 'Act of Commitment' celebrating the life and reign of the monarch, led by the Reverend Robert Kozak.

One of the country's largest bells, the Great Paul, be rang before and after the service, the first time it was heard at a royal occasion.

The event featured a new anthem by Judith Weir, Master of the Queen's Music, that sets to music words from the third Chapter of the Book of Proverbs.

Bible readings, hymns and prayers to express thankfulness for the Queen's reign, faith and service were also heard by the congregation as the nation marked the monarch's 70 years on the throne.

Before the service began, the Band of Her Majesty's Royal Marines Portsmouth (Royal Band), played as the congregation arrived and the State Trumpeters of the Household Cavalry performed to mark royal arrivals, while the Fanfare Trumpeters of the Central Band of the Royal Air Force accompanied later in the service.

The choirs of St Paul's Cathedral and Her Majesty's Chapel Royal joined together to sing the Vivats, I Was Glad by Sir Hubert Parry, performed at every coronation and now for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee.