Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester attend a service of thanksgiving for Her Majesty The Queen’s Jubilee at Lichfield Cathedral

Thu, 23/02/2012 - 11:32

As part of Her Majesty The Queens’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, Lichfield extended a warm welcome to Their Royal Highnesses, The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester at the Cathedral on Sunday 19 February. Choral Evensong celebrated the Jubilee year and The Duke of Gloucester represented The Queen. The service formed part of the celebrations to mark the 60th anniversary of the accession of Her Majesty The Queen and it was jointly hosted by Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Staffordshire Sir James Hawley KCVO TD JP and the Chairman of Staffordshire County Council Frank Lewis MBE. The visit also enabled The Duke to inspect key restoration developments to the East End of the Cathedral since his last visit in 2009.

Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Staffordshire Sir James Hawley said of the event:

“This is the Diamond Jubilee year, marking 60 glorious years of Her Majesty The Queen’s reign. The Queen came to the throne on 6th February 1952. Since The Queen appointed me as Lord-Lieutenant of Staffordshire in 1993 I have been delighted to greet Her on many occasions in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.

On Sunday 19 February Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester joined the Chairman of Staffordshire County Council, Mr Frank Lewis MBE and myself as we jointly hosted a Service of Thanksgiving at Lichfield Cathedral to mark the past 60 years. People representing many walks of life were amongst the 700 guests who attended the service. This is the second Jubilee Service I have had the pleasure in co-ordinating, the last one was during the Golden Jubilee in 2002”.

Jubilee Evensong

The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester attended Sunday Evensong in the Cathedral Nave, which was led by the Very Revd Adrian Dorber, Dean of Lichfield, together with the Bishop (The Right Revd Jonathan Gledhill), the Area Bishop of Stafford (The Rt Revd Geoff Annas), the Archdeacons of Lichfield, Walsall and Stoke upon Trent, the Canons Residentiary, the Lay Members of the Chapter, the Priest Vicars Choral, and the Cathedral Choir, directed by Ben Lamb. The Organist was Martyn Rawles. The sermon was given by the Bishop of Lichfield. Two of The Queen’s Chaplains, The Revd Preb Pippa Thorneycroft and the Revd Preb Paul Lockett, are Prebendaries (honorary Canons) of Lichfield Cathedral and were also robed in the scarlet of their office and seated in the nave sanctuary.

The bible readings and psalms were those prescribed for use as part of the annual celebration of the Accession of the Monarch. The Accession Service is celebrated every year in the cathedral and is part of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer whose 350th anniversary also falls in 2012.

Almost all of the music sung at this service was performed either at the Coronation Service in 1953 or on other royal occasions. The Magnificat is set by Sir Charles Villiers Stanford in C major, and the second of the anthems was Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry’s timeless introit, I was glad. In addition, a setting of Psalm 23 by David Matthews was performed for the first time in Lichfield Cathedral. It comes from the Choirbook for the Queen - a collection of pieces specially written and assembled in celebration of this Jubilee. Cathedrals have been generously furnished with copies of the book for use in worship; we in Lichfield are indebted to the John Paul Getty Jr Charitable Trust whose sponsorship has provided copies for our music library.

The Organ pieces were all played at the Coronation and included Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance March No 4; Vaughan Williams’ arrangement of Greensleeves; Walton’s Crown Imperial; Purcell’s Trumpet Tune and Elgar’s Nimrod from the Enigma Variations. The service concluded with Sir William Walton’s Orb and Sceptre, the Coronation March of 1953.

The prayers had been specially written for the occasion and were offered by the Rt Revd David McGough, Auxiliary Roman Catholic Bishop of Birmingham, and other distinguished regional leaders of the Baptist and Methodist Churches, and of the Salvation Army. Representatives of the Buddhist, Islamic and Sikh faiths also took their place in the congregation as distinguished guests.

Also in the congregation were the Lord-Lieutenants of Staffordshire and neighbouring Lieutenancies, Deputy Lieutenants, the Chairman of Staffordshire County Council, Civic dignitaries and members of Lichfield Cathedral’s staff, volunteers and worshipping community. A special group of individuals from Staffordshire had also been invited: these are people who were born on the landmark date of 6 February 1952, the day on which Her Majesty The Queen came to the throne on the death of her father King George VI.

The Very Revd Adrian Dorber, Dean of Lichfield commented:

“It was a privilege to begin the regional celebrations of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee with a service of thanksgiving here in Lichfield Cathedral.


2012 is a special year in the life of our nation when we look back on our post-war history and the achievements and complexities of the period. Queen Elizabeth II is a wise and diligent Monarch and we have much to thank her for”.

East End restoration work

As the Patron of the Lichfield InSpires project, His Royal Highness, The Duke of Gloucester officially launched the InSpires project on May 1 2008, a long-term programme of conservation and development, and The Duke saw the East End of the Cathedral prior to the major stonework renovation in the East End of the building.

On February 19, The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester were greeted by the Very Revd Adrian Dorber, Dean of Lichfield and Cathedral architect Robert Kilgour, who gave The Duke a private tour of the external restoration work at the East End of the Cathedral.

The tour included the inspection of:

The Lady Chapel

  • The current isothermal glazing that is in place now that the Herkenrode Glass has been removed. The original Herkenrode Glass of the Lady Chapel is one of Europe’s greatest artistic treasures, made in the sixteenth century. The glass is currently being restored to its former glory by Barley Studios in York ( for intricate cleaning to reverse the effects of 200 years’ worth of condensation, grime and pollution.

The Chapter House

  • Lichfield Cathedral is home to the St Chad Gospels and the Lichfield Angel now display in new cabinets.
  • The St Chad Gospels, an illuminated Anglo Saxon gospel book which dates from about 730 (that is, about 50 years older than the famous Book of Kells).
  • Discovered in 2003 the Lichfield Angel is a remarkable survival of Saxon sculpture. The carved limestone corner-piece, which is dated to around 800 A.D., comprises three separate fragments which are thought to have formed part of a tomb chest, presumably that of St Chad (d.672).
  • A sealed copy of the Book of Common Prayer (1662) and the Judas Bible will also be on display (1611).

External (North East and East of the Lady Chapel)

  • The replacement of the external stonework of the Lady Chapel including new grotesques.
  • Mortuary chapels.

Patricia Collins, Director of Fundraising commented:

“We are most grateful to His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester for his continued interest in the repair and conservation work at Lichfield Cathedral. Our appeal for the Cathedral’s East End has raised over three million leaving under £700,000 to complete for this first stage of the InSpires project“.

For more details on the East End Appeal, please visit


Lichfield Cathedral

Lichfield Cathedral has been a centre of Christian worship for over 1300 years and is the burial place of the great Anglo-Saxon missionary Bishop, St. Chad. It has a rich history, which is reflected in its architecture and treasures.

It is the Mother Church of the Church of England Diocese of Lichfield and the Cathedral is committed to the daily offering of worship and prayer to God, and to the offering of spiritual nourishment and space to all who visit.

The Duke of Gloucester

The Duke of Gloucester is the second son of the late Duke of Gloucester and the late Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester (third daughter of the 7th Duke of Buccleuch). His Royal Highness is a grandson of George V and a first cousin to The Queen.


Image - Allan Williamson Photography