Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor joined other church leaders today for a service of Thanksgiving marking the 50th anniversary of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Church bells rang across central London as the Queen arrived at Westminster Abbey with Prince Philip. All senior Royals, including Prince Charles, Prince Andrew, Princess Anne, Prince William, and the Earl and Countess of Wessex, together with many VIPs - among them Sir Edmund Hilary who conquered Mt Everest on this day 50 years ago, were among the 2,250-strong congregation. In contrast to the Coronation ceremony 50 years ago - representatives of severral other churches participated in the service which was lead by Dr Wesley Carr, Dean of Westminster. There were readings by The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams; Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, Archbishop of Westminster and President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales; David Hope, Anglican Archbishop of York; Rt Rev Professor Ian Torrance, Moderator of the Church of Scotland; and Rev David Coffey, the Free Church Moderator. Quoting from the Queen's Christmas 2002 Broadcast, Dr Carr read: "Anniversaries are important events in all our lives. I felt that the Golden Jubilee was more than just an anniversary The celebrations were joyous occasions but they also seemed to evoke something more lasting and profound - a sense of belonging and pride in country, town or community; a sense of sharing a common heritage enriched by the cultural, ethnic and religious diversity of our 21st society. It was a time to remind ourselves that we must never forget the plight of the disadvantaged and excluded. That we must respond to the needs of someone in distress or despair. Each day is a new beginning. I know that the only way to live my life is to try to do what is right, to take the long view, to give of my best in all that the day brings and to put my trust in God." Cardinal Cormac said: "I was delighted to be able to attend today's service to mark the 50th anniversary of the Coronation and to take part in what was a very moving and inspiring tribute to Her Majesty's many years of service to the peoples of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth. "I was particularly taken by one passage in the service where we were reminded of Her Majesty's own words, from her most recent Christmas address. Her personal reflection is one we could all take to heart and for me it will be an abiding memory and a focus for my own prayers. It is worth repeating: 'I know that the only way to live my life is to try to do what is right, to take the long view, to give of my best in all that the day brings and to put my trust in God' . "Queen Elizabeth II has served our nation with dignity and dedication and it is right that we recognise and give thanks for a remarkable 50 years."
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