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Last Updated: Sunday, 23 April 2006, 11:50 GMT 12:50 UK
Queen praised for cheering nation
The Queen on a public walk-about on her birthday
The service is the latest event to mark the Queen's 80th birthday
The Queen has been joined by members of the Royal Family for a thanksgiving service to celebrate her 80th birthday.

At the service in St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle, the Queen was praised for giving the nation "heart".

In his sermon, the Dean of Windsor, the Right Reverend David Conner, also paid tribute to her "sense of calmness, serenity and stillness".

Poet Laureate Andrew Motion wrote a poem to mark the occasion, which was sung by the choir during the service.

Bishop Conner delivered the sermon with a service that ended with the singing of God Save the Queen.

He spoke of her devotion to her family, not just those closest to her but the whole "diversity" of the Commonwealth.

You very quietly help us understand that there is much human dignity in turning the other cheek
Bishop Conner
Dean of Windsor

Her enduring faith in God was an "inspiration", he said.

"Your Majesty, not so much through word as by unselfconscious good example, you encourage us; you give us heart."

And there was praise too for the Queen's "self-forgetfulness".

"In times when we are apt, perhaps, to jump too quickly to our own defence and to seek some recompense from others, you very quietly help us understand that there is much human dignity in turning, now and then, the other cheek," he said.

The Reverend Canon John White, vice dean of the chapel, led prayers asking for "protection and support" for the whole of the Royal Family.

Motion's poem, entitled The Golden Rule, had each verse ending with the refrain: "The golden rule, your constancy, survives".

Order of garter

Among the 700 guests at the service were former prime ministers Baroness Thatcher and Sir John Major, Earl Spencer, the brother of Diana, Princess of Wales, and the Agha Khan.

The Queen and Prince Harry outside St George's Chapel

Members of the Royal Family attending alongside the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh included the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, Princes William and Harry, the Duke of York and his daughters Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice.

Also there were the Earl and Countess of Wessex, the Princess Royal and her husband Rear Admiral Tim Laurence, Peter and Zara Phillips, and others.

On Saturday the Queen attended a private party to mark her birthday, and there was a display of historic cars at Buckingham Palace.

Meanwhile the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex were made Royal Knights of the Garter by the Queen.

They were both appointed to the most senior British order, which recognises their seniority within the Royal Family.

The Order of the Garter, established by Edward III in 1348, is in the Queen's personal gift, without advice from government ministers.

The Queen has received about 40,000 cards and e-mails from well-wishers.

The main public commemorations for the Queen's birthday will take place in June around her official birthday.

See the Queen at the Windsor church service


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