Ahead of attending the funeral of the late Queen Elizabeth II today, Archbishop Eamon Martin described the monarch as “a courageous peacemaker and a reconciler of difference”.

The Primate of All Ireland emphasised how the passing of the Queen can be an opportunity for mutual understanding between communities. He said, “Since the Queen’s death there has been an outpouring of affection and genuine respect from right across the island of Ireland. I hope and pray that in some small ways this has helped to strengthen relationships and mutual understanding between our communities. Queen Elizabeth herself would want this.”

Drawing attention to Queen Elizabeth’s following of Christ’s example as a role model for peace and reconciliation, Archbishop Martin said, “In her Christmas message 2014, Queen Elizabeth said, ‘For me, the life of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace … is an inspiration and an anchor in my life.  A role model of reconciliation and forgiveness, He stretched out His hands in love, acceptance, and healing. Christ’s example has taught me to seek to respect and value all people, of whatever faith or none.’

“I will be praying at the funeral in Westminster Abbey that the efforts of Queen Elizabeth, and of so many others who took risks for our peace, will not be forgotten, or allowed to slip away.  Many of these peacemakers have now gone to their rest.  The work of peace, however, remains unfinished and urgent – and it is up to all of us to play our part.”

The senior Prelate concluded, “May Christ the Prince of Peace remain with us. May Queen Elizabeth rest in the Peace of that same Christ.”

Ends