The media is full of stories about people remembering Queen Elizabeth II who died Sept. 8 at age 96, the longest reigning monarch in British history.
I have my own story about Queen Elizabeth. In May, 2016 I presented Her Majesty a copy of the Modern English Version at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle, her primary residence (and the location I might add of Prince Phillip’s funeral a couple of years ago).
It’s a day I’ll never forget, and I reminisced about it in my “Strang Report” podcast which you can listen to here.
The Modern English Version is an update of the Authorized Version that King James I published in 1611. It’s what we call the King James Version. It was modern English at the time. Today it’s hard to read, and the version we think is the original was actually updated in 1769. Since then many new translations have been published, but the translation team headed by Dr. Jim Linzey tried to keep the grandeur and cadence of the original, especially on familiar passages such as the Lord’s Prayer. The MEV translators also used the same ancient documents used in 1611—the Masoretic Text for the Old Testament and the Textus Receptus for the New Testament.
The original translation was dedicated to King James and was financed by the King. Our translators, mostly Americans, followed that model and included a dedication as follows:
“To Her Majesty Elizabeth II, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and of Her Other Realms and Territories, Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith. The translator of the Bible wishes grace, mercy and peace through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
As we discovered later, British protocol regarding the royals is to request permission before the dedication is issued. We learned that we could get permission after the fact, and that is what we did. We also arranged to present it in person to Her Majesty and we paid to create an original copy and box complete with the royal insignia. The outer box read: “Presented to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on the 9th of May 2016.”
We learned only one British bookbinder was approved to create this special Bible and we could create only one copy. (I wanted to create a second for the Museum of the Bible.) To commemorate this special event we made a couple of dozen copies with a special cover that said: “Commemorating the dedication of the Modern English Version to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 8 May 2016 Saint George’s Chapel Windsor Castle.” We gave each of the 20 invited guests and had a few more as gifts.
I learned a lot in this process about protocol, the Royal family and also about the Queen’s own spirituality. I couldn’t have done it without help of some British friends who made connect with the Dean of Windsor, The Right Reverend David Conner. I understood at the time that he was the Queen’s pastor and met with her regularly about matters spiritual.
At the time Queen Elizabeth was 90 and while still in good health, was frail. Long before the presentation we were told she made decisions on what formal events (like this) to attend depending on her energy level that day. I was looking forward to meeting her but understand her schedule. She did not attend, and I presented it to the Right Reverend Conner. I was told that the presentation to him was the same as a presentation to her.
He promised me he would personally give it to her, and I’ve been told since that she read it many times.
The British are reserved, especially about the Royals, but I was led to believe she is a woman of deep faith as several writers have reiterated the week of her death. And over the years with her public statements, her annual Christmas messages and the manner in which she lived her life of service to the British people, this was abundantly clear.
My friend Martin Clarke of London, who was my main UK contact and who sponsored a “high tea” the next day at the Ritz Hotel, wrote eloquently about this on charismanews.com. I’ve been told that someone close to the Royal family liked it so much they intend to show the article to King Charles III. The Ritz Hotel was one of the Queen’s favorite places to dine, and being diagonally opposite Buckingham Palace, was most convenient as well as a young girl who lived on Piccadilly with her father and mother.
Queen Elizabeth reigned over a time of enormous change not only in the UK, but in western civilization. She was always a staunch defender of the faith. King Charles has been quoted that he will be the defender of faiths (plural) indication that as head of the Church of England. I hope that was a misstatement or that he takes seriously his role as head of the Church of England. It will be interesting to see.
Please listen to my podcast, post this on social media and share with friends. At a time like this it’s good to reflect on the fact we won’t live forever and one day we must stand before God like Queen Elizabeth. When she became Queen at age 25 she made a statement that whether her life was short or long she would be devoted to serving the British people. Now she’s kept her word after a very long life.
The Queen has died. Long live the King.