Queen Elizabeth Had “No Fear of Death,” the Archbishop of Canterbury Says

He also commented on her “hope for the future.”

Queen Elizabeth
(Image credit: Getty)

Buckingham Palace announced Thursday that Her Majesty died “peacefully” at her beloved Balmoral Castle at the age of 96. And, according to Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby—who met with the Queen back in June—Her Majesty didn’t fear the prospect of death, and, just as her passing was peaceful, seemed at peace with her life, as well.

“I came away thinking there is someone who has no fear of death, has hope in the future, knows the rock on which she stands, and that gives her strength,” he said on BBC Radio 4’s Today show on Friday, as reported by The Guardian.

Of being in the same room with the longest-reigning monarch in British history, Welby said “you felt that history was in front of you, but it was history with those piercingly blue eyes twinkling, that extraordinary smile, and the relishing of a quick, dry comment.”

Welby met with Her Majesty at Windsor Castle in June to award her a special Canterbury Cross, commemorating her unwavering dedication to the Church of England in her Platinum Jubilee year, PEOPLE reports. Since ascending to the throne in 1952, the Queen had served faithfully as the ceremonial head of the Church of England. This power now passes to her successor, King Charles III.

On Friday evening, Welby participated in a service of prayer and reflection at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, held in Her Majesty’s honor. Guests in attendance included the newly elected Prime Minister Liz Truss, who met with the Queen just two days before her death.

Welby shared words of support for King Charles III’s first address as monarch, saying “thank you, Your Majesty, for these words of comfort and hope for us all, spoken amidst such profound sorrow. We hold you and your family in our prayers. May you know God’s faithful love now and always.”

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.