Queen Elizabeth II, the monarch with the longest reign in British history, has died at the age of 96.

Throughout this unprecedented reign, Queen Elizabeth II frequently spoke of her personal Christian faith. Since her first Christmas speech in 1952, a tradition started by her grandfather, King George V, the Queen has asked for prayers for her upcoming coronation.

"I want to ask all of you, regardless of your religion, to pray for me on that day," "pray that God will give me the wisdom and strength to fulfill the solemn promises I will make, and that I can faithfully serve Him and you all the days of my life. 

As one of the world's most recognized and beloved leaders for more than seven decades since this Christmas, the Queen has exemplified how a personal, private, inclusive and compassionate Christian faith can be lived out while serving in an international public role. almost everywhere.

Queen Elizabeth II inherited religious responsibilities as Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England, titles conferred on the reigning British monarch since Henry VIII renounced the papacy in 1534. 

At his coronation in 1953, His Majesty took an oath to "maintain and preserve inviolably the establishment of the Church of England and its doctrine, worship, discipline and government as established by law in England."

Among other things, she was responsible for appointing Archbishops, Bishops and Deans of the Church of England on the advice of the Prime Minister. In 1970, she became the first sovereign to open the General Synod of the Church and address it personally, a practice she maintained every five years after diocesan elections.

Three weeks after her coronation, the queen followed the historical precedent and swore to preserve the Church of Scotland, thus honoring her duty to "preserve the establishment of the true Protestant religion as established by the laws made in Scotland." 

The Church of Scotland is Presbyterian and recognizes only Jesus Christ as "King and Head of the Church," which explains the lack of an official title and His Majesty's participation as a regular member.

More than tradition

But the queen's faith was more than the product of a respectful politeness to historical tradition. Throughout her reign, she expressed the importance of her faith and commended it to her subjects.

"For me, Christ's teachings and my own personal responsibility before God provide the framework within which I try to live my life." , she explained in 2000. "Like many of you, in difficult times I have found great comfort in the words and example of Christ. 

In 2002, the Queen went through a painful year of personal bereavement with the deaths of her sister, Princess Margaret, and the Queen Mother. That year, in her annual Christmas speech, she testified how her faith sustained her.

"I know how much I rely on my own faith to guide me through good times and bad. "Every day is a new beginning. I know that the only way to live my life is to try to do what is right, to look long term, to do my best in all that the day brings, and to put my trust in God. 

The Queen has consistently extended her reach by recognizing and celebrating religious diversity and tolerance in the UK, the Commonwealth and around the world. Her Christmas and Commonwealth Day messages often addressed the themes of interfaith harmony and respectful tolerance. 

At the invitation of the Queen and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, leaders of various faiths and denominations regularly attended royal ceremonies, including weddings and thanksgiving services.

During the celebration of her Diamond Jubilee in 2012, the Queen attended a multi-religious reception at Lambeth Palace, hosted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, which was attended by leaders of eight religions in the UK, including Buddhism, Judaism, Islam and Hinduism. 

At this event, the Queen said, "Faith plays a fundamental role in the identity of millions of people, providing not only a belief system but also a sense of belonging.

It can serve as a stimulus for social action. Indeed, religious groups have a proud reputation for helping the needy, including the sick, the elderly, the lonely, and the disadvantaged. They remind us of the responsibilities we have beyond ourselves. 

The Queen's efforts were recognized in 2007 by the Three-Faiths Forum, an organization dedicated to building understanding and lasting relationships between people of all religions. 

This organization awarded His Majesty the Sternberg Interfaith Gold Medal, given to individuals who have contributed to promoting peace and tolerance among people of different religions.