In 2015, the Revd Canon Ian Davenport was appointed as a chaplain to the Queen, a role he held until her passing on 08 September 2022.
Ian says it was “the greatest privilege of my life to serve her as one of her English chaplains.”
His appointment was made following a recommendation from the former Bishop of Chester, Peter Forster, to the Clerk of the Closet, the person responsible for organizing the appointment of chaplains in England.
Ian said: “It came as a complete surprise but as a huge honour. I couldn’t think of a higher privilege than to be a chaplain to Her Majesty.”
Unlike the domestic chaplains who meet with the monarch regularly, Ian was part of a group of 36 English chaplains who preach once a year in The Chapel Royal at St James Palace and attend a garden party. Ian says: “Whenever we were out and about in the community, we were members of the Royal Household.”
Ian recalls the day he was appointed as one of her chaplains and his nervousness before meeting her for the first time.
“I was presented to her at the start of a garden party at Buckingham Palace in 2015. It was a formal presentation, and I was understandably nervous – anyone would be – but instantly, through that lovely smile and by the way she talked in that relaxed style that she had, she made you feel special and put you at ease.”
In 2018 he met the Queen again, this time in the Great Hall at Windsor Castle where he, along with the other English and Scottish chaplains and their spouses, had been invited to attend a canopy party.
“We had our photograph taken with her which I have hanging in the hall at home. She spoke to every single one of us. She walked around and again made everyone feel special – nobody was missed out. It was lovely.
“What came across to me every time was her interest in people; while she talked to you, she looked at you and she engaged with you. I always went away afterwards feeling affirmed as a person because she’d spent time with me.
“Together with countless peoples around the world I give thanks for a very special lady who served her Lord and Master to the end of her life and who brightened all our lives with her presence among us. May she rest in the peace of Christ and rise in glory."
Now retired, the Revd Canon Ian Davenport is the former Incumbent at Bickerton, Rector of Malpas and Threapwood, and Rural Dean of Malpas.
Around the diocese, parishes of all size, churchmanship, and tradition are preparing to give thanks for the life of the late Queen ahead of the state funeral on Monday 19 September.
Liturgy and prayers to assist parishes can be found on the Church of England website along with resources to assist schools in remembering the Queen and praying for the Royal Family.
At 3pm on Sunday 18 September, Chester Cathedral will hold its service of thankgiving which will be attended by the bishops and senior staff of the diocese. Civic leaders are also expected to attend.
There is limited seating available for the service and those wishing to attend must book a seat in advance. They will be released on a first-come-first-served basis. Those unable to attend will be able to watch the service via the Cathedral's YouTube channel.