Archbishop salutes Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip on 60th anniversary

Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II listened to her husband, Prince Philip, during a service of celebration to mark their diamond wedding anniversary Monday at Westminster Abbey in London. (Alastair Grant ~ Associated Press)

LONDON -- The 60th wedding anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip is also an occasion to be thankful for her long and devoted service to the nation and Commonwealth, the archbishop of Canterbury said Monday.

Archbishop Rowan Williams, speaking to the royal couple and 2,000 guests at a thanksgiving service at Westminster Abbey, said today's diamond anniversary was a milestone in her commitment to her role.

The queen, then Princess Elizabeth, married Philip at the abbey on Nov. 20, 1947. She became queen in 1952, following the death of her father, George VI.

"Every marriage is a public event, but some couples have to live more than others in the full light of publicity," Williams said. "We are probably more aware than ever these days of the pressures this brings.

"But it also means that we can give special thanks for the very public character of the witness and the sign offered to us by this marriage, and what it has meant to nation and Commonwealth over the decades.

"And part of what it has meant has had to do precisely with the sense of unqualified commitment that has been so characteristic of every aspect of this reign: the faithful and creative personal partnership at the center of everything else has been a sign of creative faithfulness to a task, a vocation, the creative faithfulness that secures the trust, love and prayerful support of millions," Williams said.

Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, Prince William and Prince Harry were among those attending the service.

Some 500 members of Royal Household staff past and present were also among the guests.

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