Photo Credit: Library and Archives of Canada
[ACNS, by Gavin Drake] Westminster Abbey is to mark the near-65-year reign of Queen Elizabeth II with a new stained glass window, which will be designed by acclaimed British contemporary artist David Hockney. The window, which will be made at Barley Studios in York, will occupy a place in the north transept – one of the few remaining clear windows in the Abbey – and will be known as The Queen’s Window. The Queen celebrated her 90th birthday this year. Next February marks the 65th anniversary of her succeeding her father, King George VI.
The Quire of Westminster Abbey, showing the Queen’s Window in the north transept (right)
Photo: Alan Williams / Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey is the Monarch’s church. Known as a Royal Peculiar, it is outside the jurisdiction of the Diocese of London. It houses the seat of King Edward the Confessor – the wooden throne on which all-but-one crowned English monarch sat on for their coronation since the 14th century. Since 1066, all but two English monarchs have been crowned in the Abbey. The two that didn’t – Edward V and Edward VIII – were not crowned.
The present Queen’s relationship with Westminster Abbey goes back decades. It is here, in 1947, that she married Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. She was crowned here at her coronation in 1953 – making her the longest reigning monarch in British history. A Westminster Abbey spokesperson said that the Queen’s “profound sense of duty and her devotion to a life of service have been the hallmark of a reign spanning enormous social change.”
Queen Elizabeth attends numerous services at the Abbey each year, ranging from the annual service for the Commonwealth of Nations, to family occasions, such as the 2011 marriage of Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, to Catherine Middleton. The Queen will be at the Abbey today (Thursday) for a service to mark the Diamond Anniversary of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award – a tiered challenge for young people providing opportunities for personal development.
“I am delighted to announce our intention to celebrate Her Majesty’s reign with a stained glass window on the west side of the North Transept and that David Hockney has agreed to design the window to be made by the Barley Studio in York,” the Dean of Westminster, the Very Revd Dr John Hall, said. “It will be wonderful to have in the Abbey the work of this internationally renowned contemporary British artist who has been honoured by The Queen with membership of the Order of Merit, which is in Her Majesty’s personal gift.”
David Hockney said of the commission, that he is planning “a landscape full of blossom that’s a celebration every year.”