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Emily Buchanan, religious affairs correspondent
"The Queen attended a service at St Paul's Cathedral in London specially written for the occasion"
 real 28k

Sunday, 2 January, 2000, 21:48 GMT
Royals join millennium prayers

The Queen The Queen attended the service at St Paul's

Leading members of the Royal family have joined worshippers at special simultaneous church services across the UK.

Into 2000
The Queen and Prince Philip were the guests of honour at St Paul's Cathedral in London for the English service.

Prince Charles and his sons Prince Harry and Prince William attended the Welsh service at the Tabernacl Baptist Church in Cardiff, which featured rapping and singing.

Archbishop of Canterbury Archbishop of Canterbury: Call for return to core Christian values
Later, they joined crowds of more than 66,000 for BBC One's Songs of Praise broadcast from the Millennium Stadium in the city.

In Scotland, the Princess Royal, Princess Anne, attended the service at St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh.

Prince Andrew went to Northern Ireland's service at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast.

The services, held especially to mark the millennium, were planned to bring together the different Christian denominations of Britain and Ireland.

In his address at St Paul's, the Archbishop of Canterbury criticised society's worship of fame, wealth and power, and urged a return to core Christian values.

The princes signed the Tabernacl visitors' book
Dr George Carey said the message given by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount appeared "topsy turvy" to today's generation.

He called for a return to love and faith in God, with people building communities and caring for one another.

The Queen, wearing a deep red winter coat and hat, arrived at St Paul's with Prince Philip shortly before the services began at 1430 GMT.

Earlier, Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife, Cherie, walked hand in hand into the cathedral.

Culture Secretary Chris Smith, Cabinet Office Minister Lord Falconer, the Lord Chancellor Lord Irvine and the outgoing BBC Director General Lord Birt were also present.

The Blairs attended the London service
The readings, including an excerpt from John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress and TS Eliot's Little Gidding, were delivered by actors Patricia Hodge and Richard Griffiths.

Poet Ben Okri read the bidding prayer - an extract from his poem Mental Fight.

The congregation heard three new prayers written by women priests and a new hymn created by two competition winners. Children's choirs sang a South African hymn.

In Scotland, minister Gilleasbuig Macmillan led the service, with Cardinal Winning leading the prayers.

Princess Anne Princess Anne went to Scotland's millennium service
A crowd braved the cold and rain to cheer and applaud Charles and princes William and Harry in Cardiff, on their first collective visit to Wales.

A number of teenage girls shouted to William as he arrived.

After the service the princes spent about 10-minutes on a spontaneous walkabout, shaking hands with the crowd of about 150.

David Harris, 53, of Gwent, said: "I asked Prince William if he had a hangover after New Year's Eve and he said no.

Princes The three princes went on to Cardiff's Millennium Stadium
"Prince Charles wished me a happy new year. I was impressed as they were really sociable."

At the Songs of Praise service, the 66,000 strong crowd was joined by a massed choir of 5,000 and a 100-harp orchestra.

Sir Cliff Richard performed his hit song Millennium Prayer, his only public performance planned for 2000.

The Wessexes also put in an appearance
The Duke of York briefly addressed a large crowd gathered at the foyer of the Waterfront Hall after Northern Ireland's service.

"I'm very happy to be here. I hope 2000 goes on being a very happy one over here. It's very important. Congratulations," he said.

The Earl and Countess of Wessex also made an appearance, attending Winchester Cathedral for an hour-long service of celebration and dedication.

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See also:
02 Jan 00 |  Wales
Princes attend Songs of Praise celebration
02 Jan 00 |  Northern Ireland
Andrew joins millennium service
02 Jan 00 |  Scotland
United in prayer to mark millennium
02 Jan 00 |  UK
Singing the praises of the unsung

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