Diana's Prayer for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
Amidst the formality of His Grace's liturgy, the magnificent hymns, the exquisite anthems and majestic grandeur of the setting and the occasion, one might be forgiven for not detecting the presence of the spirit of Diana, Princess of Wales in the proceedings. But she was there: indeed, if you listened closely, you could hear her words.
Prince William and Catherine Middleton surreptitiously injected a little informality into the proceedings, even a glimpse of humour. So brief was it, and so disguised by the stateliness and dignity of the Bishop of London, that one might easily have mistaken it for yet another modernisation of the Book of Common Prayer. But at the end of his Address to the couple, Dr Richard Chartres read out a sensitive, honest and quite intimate prayer which had been written by William and Catherine themselves. They might well have been chanelling Diana:
God our Father, we thank you for our families, for the love that we share and for the joy of our marriage. In the busy-ness of each day keep our eyes fixed on what is real and important in life and help us to be generous with our time and love and energy. Strengthened by our union, help us to serve and comfort those who suffer. We ask this in the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Amen.It is almost the fulfilment of the wish of Charles Spencer, Diana's brother, expressed in his oration at her funeral in the same place 14 years ago:
And beyond that, on behalf of your mother and sisters, I pledge that we, your blood family, will do all we can to continue the imaginative way in which you were steering these two exceptional young men so that their souls are not simply immersed by duty and tradition but can sing openly as you planned.In the vulnerable informality of this simple prayer, with its focus on compassion for those who suffer, you can hear the open singing, the joy, the laughter, and the spiritual and emotional honesty of Diana. And what a cheeky glance was there.
We fully respect the heritage into which they have both been born and will always respect and encourage them in their royal role but we, like you, recognise the need for them to experience as many different aspects of life as possible to arm them spiritually and emotionally for the years ahead. I know you would have expected nothing less from us.