'˜Queen a great source of joy', says Kirk moderator

The Queen's easy relationship with the Church of Scotland provides a 'great source of encouragement and joy', according to the Moderator of its General Assembly.

The Queen, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, opens a bandstand in Windsor yesterday. Picture: PA
The Queen, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, opens a bandstand in Windsor yesterday. Picture: PA

The Rt Rev Dr Angus Morrison was among those to send his congratulations to the Queen yesterday ahead of her 90th birthday today, describing her love and appreciation of Scotland as being “widely known”.

Former moderators also used the occasion to offer their memories of spending time with her during her regular visits.

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Mr Morrison said her interest and commitment to the Kirk had been demonstrated in “countless ways”.

“In the Church of Scotland we are greatly heartened and we rejoice in Her Majesty’s unwavering commitment and witness to the Christian faith, as well as affirming the secure place of other faiths in Britain today,” he said.

“Her Majesty’s regular and engaged attendance and easy relationship with the Kirk in Scotland is a great source of encouragement and joy.”

The Very Rev Sheilagh Kesting offered her memories of meeting the Queen during her time as moderator in 2007.

She said: “The thing I remember about her is how easy it was to relax with her. She is well-briefed and takes a personal interest in you. She has a quick sense of humour. There’s always laughter around.

“She’s very good at seeing the funny side of things. It’s sometimes difficult to remember you’re speaking to the Queen.”

The Very Rev David Arnott, moderator in 2011-2012, added: “She is very much a British Queen, not just an English one, and has shown her support for the Church of Scotland through attendance at the General Assembly and always remains extremely well-briefed on our activities.

“They say of Balmoral ‘if you’re not a royalist when you go, you’ll be one by the time you come away’. The Saturday night BBQ is always splendid as these are family events.

“What comes across is her extraordinary ordinariness. With a great ability to put you at your ease, at the same time she never steps out of the role – she’s always Queen.”

The Very Rev Professor Iain Torrance, Dean of the Chapel Royal, said he had been “privileged” to have had a number of conversations with her over the years.

“The Queen has an exhaustive knowledge of the Church and its ministers and its troubles and its joys,” he said.

“As I have found over the years, she is genuinely and deeply interested in our country and our church. This is because it is her church too and her faith means an enormous amount to her.”

Yesterday the Queen toured her local Windsor postal depot, which was renamed in her honour, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh. The monarch suggested cards and gifts from well-wishers may have added to the huge number of items they deliver every year.