Earlier last month, The Bible Society, HOPE, and LICC (London Institute for Contemporary Christianity) released a tribute book to the Queen for her 90th birthday. The Servant Queen and the King She Serves is co-written by Mark Greene from LICC and Catherine Butcher from HOPE, with mostly words by the Queen from her Christmas speeches, Coronation, and other recorded speeches.
The Bible Society, of which the Queen is a Patron, translates and distributes Bibles around the world. The Bible, also known as Scripture(s), is the Word of God, or God’s message to all humans. It is ‘the most valuable thing that this world affords’ for it gives us wisdom (if we only truly follow the Bible). In 2002, the Queen said:
‘I know just how much I rely on my faith to guide me through the good times and the bad. … I draw strength from the message of hope in the Christian gospel.’
The Queen has written a foreword, in which she thanks those who have prayed for her, as well as to God for His love and His faithfulness. She concludes by inviting us to reflect on a poem that had been quoted by her father in his Christmas Day broadcast in 1939 (though she humbly does not mention that she had given the poem by Minnie Louise Haskins to him – mentioned in chapter 2). The poem reminds readers that putting our trust in God in a world full of uncertainty and darkness would be ‘better than light, and safer than a known way.’
This 64-page book focuses on the Queen and her devotion to God, from childhood to the present day. It allows readers to understand how her Christian faith has shaped her life and continues to play a role in all that she does today.
The book is divided into nine short chapters:
- The Queen’s Secret – Essentially, how does our hardworking 90-year-old Queen do it?
- The King’s Speech & the Princess’ Piece – The background on the King’s Speech and the above-mentioned poem.
- Ceremony & Sincerity – This chapter on her coronation touches on the symbolism of the orb (Chris ruling over the earth) and swords (‘To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God’ – Micah 6:8). It also explains how the solemn religious ceremony was the ‘proudest moment of [her] life’.
- Working in Service – This focuses on the hardworking Queen’s commitment to service, following in Christ’s example of serving, rather than being served.
- Fezes, Football & Faith – As one pastor at church told us, the Queen may be a very private person, but she is not silent when it comes to her faith. At the same time, she doesn’t force her faith on others. Rather, she gently shares her testimony each time, i.e. lessons she’s learned and how we could learn from them too. (This is explored more in chapter 7).
- Side Doors & Private Priorities – There are many the Queen doesn’t have to do, but she does because Christ is central in her life. It’s interesting to note that the message of Christ is ‘always…the climax of the [Christmas] broadcast.’
- Christmas Presence – This chapter focuses on forgiveness and loving thy neighbour, also known as the two most difficult things to do, and how the Queen follows these two commandments in her daily life and frequently shares these themes in her Christmas speeches.
- Strength for Adversity – What do you do when times are tough? Pray. Most people’s natural reaction to bad times is that God does not exist or that they’ve been abandoned. (I can completely understand!) Considering the Queen has been through pretty rough times, it’s astounding to see her still devoted to God. It’s all too easy to give up. Pray? Something I often forget to do or don’t want to! But the Queen knows the power of prayer!
- Good Evening, Mr Bond – A conclusion thanking God and the Queen for the example she has shown. Also, let us not forget to continue to pray for the Queen (as well as other leaders) for prayer support will help!
I’m not going to deny how nervous I am to write a review (or my thoughts) knowing that many non-Christian friends and readers would roll their eyes at me and pity that I am just stuck in a fairytale world. I am afraid because I care about how people view me. In reality, I should have nothing to fear. I wonder if the Queen has had times when she worried about how the people she serves may react to her Christian messages. I greatly admire how she never falters in sharing the good message. After all, she has found God and His Word to have helped her greatly in her life. Would you not also happily recommend something or someone who could help others?
My Dad and I have enjoyed our annual tradition of watching the Christmas speech and I have personally found that her messages sink in more than other messages (sorry, pastors!). The Queen is one of my role models though I have far to go when it comes to controlling my emotions and temper, amongst many other vices. Of course, as humans, we are not perfect and it is all too easy to stray. Reading this book has reminded me to put my trust in God as leaning on my own or others’ wisdom has not always helped me in times of trouble. It makes me wonder, how different would my life be if Christ were truly at the centre of my life. Probably filled with more love!
- This book is good for all ages and all faiths (and atheists). If you love the Queen but are atheist, this book helps you understand who the Queen is through her Christian faith. If you’re anti-royal and anti-religion (especially anti-God) – but curious enough to read the book – I say, give it a read anyway. You may learn something and find consolation… or you may not think of it at all, again.
- The font, size, and spacing make the book easier on the eyes so that readers need not squint and helps with concentration.
- There’s at least one image on every page for those ADD readers like me who need visual distractions.
- There’s also a 12 page version for schools (but it looks like it’s just longer and easier for flipping and reading.
Questions I would like to ask the Queen:
- What is her favourite verse?
- What is/are her favourite story/stories from the Bible?
You can order your book from the following for £1 or £5 plus p&p: