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Solo soprano sings Queen Elizabeth II’s favourite hymn to celebrate 70 years on the throne

1 June 2022, 21:31

By Kyle Macdonald

Two very special hymns sung in The Queen’s Chapel of the Savoy, to mark a historic and poignant day.

This weekend Britain celebrates 70 years since Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II became monarch of the United Kingdom.

Though this year marks a historic anniversary, it’s also one that will have been poignant to Her Majesty, being also the 70th anniversary of the death of her father, King George VI.

Early this year, on the date of Her Majesty’s accession to the throne, two musicians wanted to make a musical gesture to mark this day, together performing two hymns that are very close to Her Majesty’s heart.

On her 90th birthday, our monarch named some of her favourite music. Melodies by Vera Lynn and Fred Astaire featured in the list alongside two traditional hymns ‘Praise, My Soul’, ‘The King Of Heaven’ and ‘The Lord is My Shepherd’.

Read more: Queen Elizabeth II plays piano, sang madrigals at Windsor, and has two honorary music degrees

Alexandra Stevenson sings in The Queen's Chapel of the Savoy
Alexandra Stevenson sings in The Queen's Chapel of the Savoy. Picture: Classic FM / Alamy

English soprano Alexandra Stevenson thought that a performance of these two much-loved church melodies would be perfect to share on the meaningful date. She is joined by Master of the Music at The Queen’s Chapel of the Savoy, Philip Berg MVO, to perform in the strikingly beautiful and intimate London chapel.

These two hymns were both sung at the wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten in November 1947. We imagine they will now, less than a year after the passing The Duke of Edinburgh, hold bittersweet memories for Her Majesty.

The two musicians sing in a beautiful, special place. The Queen’s Chapel of the Savoy is a beautiful church in the heart of London, quietly nestled beside the famous Savoy Hotel. The chapel dates from 1490 and is a Royal Peculiar, which means it has a special connection to the reigning monarch.

Sir Michael Bunbury of the Duchy of Lancaster and Her Majesty Yhe Queen the gardens of the Queen's Chapel of the Savoy in London, 2003.
Sir Michael Bunbury of the Duchy of Lancaster and Her Majesty Yhe Queen the gardens of the Queen's Chapel of the Savoy in London, 2003. Picture: Alamy

The Queen’s Chapel of the Savoy is open for visitors from Monday to Thursday, with services with their choir on Sunday. 10 years ago, a new stained-glass window in the chapel, commemorating the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, was unveiled by the Queen.

Part of the Diamond Jubilee stained glass window at The Queen's Chapel of the Savoy London
Part of the Diamond Jubilee stained glass window at The Queen's Chapel of the Savoy London. Picture: Alamy

In April 2021, Alexandra sang another hymn in tribute. The Royal Navy hymn ‘Eternal Father, Strong to Save’ was a favourite of the late Duke of Edinburgh. Here it is, sung in an empty Portsmouth Cathedral with organist David Price.