Key workers, charity volunteers and members of the armed forces have been invited to the Queen’s Service of Thanksgiving in recognition of their contribution to public life.
More than 400 people, who have made a national or local difference, are among the guests and many have worked tirelessly during the pandemic.
They will join members of the royal family at St Paul’s Cathedral to celebrate the monarch’s 70-year reign, although the Queen herself will not attend after feeling “some discomfort” during Thursday’s events following to previous mobility problems.
Senior members of the monarchy in attendance include the Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who will be joined by the extended royal family.
Charles will officially represent the Queen at the service.
The Duke of York was due to attend but has now pulled out after testing positive for Covid.
The Dean of St Paul’s, Dr David Ison, will say in The Bidding: “We gather today in this cathedral church to offer our thanks and praise to God for the reign of Her Majesty The Queen and in particular for her 70 years of loyalty and dedicated service.
“As we come together in the communities of her kingdom and the Commonwealth of Nations, we rejoice in the diverse and varied lives of all those she serves, and in the beauty and abundance of the world in which we live.
“Inspired by the words and the music, we pray that God will continue to bless and guide His Majesty, and that we may all receive the grace to honor life and live in harmony with one another; and we continue to pray for those whose lives are marked by conflict, suffering and tragedy.
“And mindful of God’s call to meet the needs of others, we recommit ourselves to caring for our world and all to whom it is home, always striving to seek and nurture that which is good in people and in all creation.”
Those invited in recognition of their service have all been recipients of honors in the New Year or Anniversary Honors lists and their numbers also include government officials and representatives of social enterprises and voluntary groups.
Boris Johnson, who will give a New Testament reading, and members of his cabinet are among the guests, along with Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer, devolved government prime ministers and former prime ministers.
The diplomatic world will be represented by high commissioners and ambassadors from around the world, as well as governors general and clergy from global faiths.
Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell will deliver the sermon after Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby tested positive for Covid-19. The Dean of the Chapel Royal, Dame Sarah Mullally, Bishop of London, will give the Collection and Benediction, and the Dean of St Paul’s will lead the service.
Young people representing countries where the Queen is head of state will lead the ‘Act of Pledge’ celebrating the life and reign of the monarch, led by the Reverend Robert Kozak.
During the day, one of the largest bells in the country, the Grande Paul, will ring before and after the service, the first time it has been heard on a royal occasion.
The event will feature a new hymn by Judith Weir, Queen’s Music Master, which sets lyrics from the third chapter of the Book of Proverbs.
Bible readings, hymns and prayers to express gratitude for the Queen’s reign, faith and service will also be heard by the congregation as the nation celebrates the monarch’s 70 years on the throne.
Before the start of the service, the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Portsmouth (Royal Band), will play as the congregation arrives and State Trumpeters from the Household Cavalry will perform to mark the Royal arrivals, while Trumpeters from marching band from the Central Band of the Royal Air Force would later accompany the service.
Choirs from St Paul’s Cathedral and Her Majesty’s Chapel Royal will come together to sing Sir Hubert Parry’s Vivats, I Was Glad, performed at every coronation and now for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.