The queen thanked by the archbishop for having “stayed the course”

The Queen is “still in the saddle”, the Archbishop of York said, thanking her for “staying the course”.

In his sermon for the National Thanksgiving Service at St Paul’s Cathedral, the Reverend Stephen Cottrell compared the monarch’s well-known love of horse racing to his long reign, suggesting it “reflects Aintree’s distance more than the Epsom sprints”.

The Queen backed out of attending Friday morning’s event in central London after experiencing ‘discomfort’ following the first day of celebrations for her Platinum Jubilee.

During his sermon, Mr Cottrell told the congregation, which included senior members of the Royal Family, that he was ‘sorry’ the Queen was unable to attend, but glad there was “even more to come”.

He said: “It is well known that Her Majesty loves horse racing.

“I have no good advice for the Derby tomorrow, but since the scriptures describe life as a race ahead of us, let me observe that his long reign reflects the distance of Aintree more than the Epsom Sprints.

“Admittedly, less dressage than most people imagine.

“But with endurance, through times of change and challenge, joy and sadness, she continues to offer herself in service to our country and the Commonwealth.

“Your Majesty, we are sorry you are not with us this morning in person, but you are still in the saddle. And we are all glad there is more to come.”

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