The Archbishop of Canterbury has praised the Queen for dedicating herself to the service of her nation and Commonwealth in a thanksgiving sermon celebrating the Diamond Jubilee.

Dr Rowan Williams told a congregation of leading figures from the UK and overseas that the Queen's decision to devote her life to others has "endured faithfully, calmly and generously" during her 60-year reign.

He also suggested the Jubilee year could be a spur to the nation to follow the example set by the Queen of selflessly helping those around us.

Missing from the St Paul's Cathedral service was the Duke of Edinburgh who was taken to hospital yesterday with a bladder infection.

rowan willams

"To declare a lifelong dedication is to take a huge risk... but it is also to respond to the promise of a vision that brings joy."


His absence is likely to be greatly felt by the Queen and her family during the series of celebrations planned for today to mark the end of the Diamond Jubilee weekend.

Dr Williams mentioned the Duke in his address saying "our prayers and thoughts are very much with him this morning".
The service was a religious acknowledgement of the life of the Queen, who is head of the Church of England and has deeply held Christian beliefs.

The Archbishop told the congregation: "Dedication to the service of a community certainly involves that biblical sense of an absolute purge of selfish goals, but it is also the opening of a door into shared riches.

"I don't think it's at all fanciful to say that, in all her public engagements, our Queen has shown a quality of joy in the happiness of others; she has responded with just the generosity St Paul speaks of in showing honour to countless local communities and individuals of every background and class and race.

"She has made her 'public' happy and all the signs are that she is herself happy, fulfilled and at home in these encounters.

"The same, of course, can manifestly be said of Prince Philip; and our prayers and thoughts are very much with him this morning.

"To declare a lifelong dedication is to take a huge risk, to embark on a costly venture. But it is also to respond to the promise of a vision that brings joy."

The Queen's most famous declaration of her commitment to service was made during a visit to South Africa, on her 21st birthday - April 21 - when she vowed to serve the Commonwealth.

Princess Elizabeth, as she was then, said: "I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong."

Dr Williams said: "But we are marking today the anniversary of one historic and very public act of dedication - a dedication that has endured faithfully, calmly and generously through most of the adult lives of most of us here.

"We are marking six decades of living proof that public service is possible and that it is a place where happiness can be found."

He went on to say: "This year has already seen a variety of Jubilee creations and projects.

"But its most lasting memorial would be the rebirth of an energetic, generous spirit of dedication to the common good and the public service, the rebirth of a recognition that we live less than human lives if we think just of our own individual good."

Take a look at pictures from Tuesday's Diamond Jubilee celebrations below:

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  • (L-R) Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Price Harry wave to the crowds from Buckingham Palace during the Diamond Jubilee carriage procession after the service of thanksgiving at St.Paul's Cathedral on the Mall on June 5, 2012 in London, England. For only the second time in its history the UK celebrates the Diamond Jubilee of a monarch. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II celebrates the 60th anniversary of her ascension to the throne. Thousands of wellwishers from around the world have flocked to London to witness the spectacle of the weekend's celebrations. (Photo credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

  • The Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team fly in formation over Buckingham Palace as The Royal family stand on the balcony on June 5, 2012 in London, England. For only the second time in its history the UK celebrates the Diamond Jubilee of a monarch. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II celebrates the 60th anniversary of her ascension to the throne. Thousands of wellwishers from around the world have flocked to London to witness the spectacle of the weekend's celebrations. (Photo credit: Peter Macdiarmid - WPA Pool /Getty Images)

  • Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Prince Harry and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge on the balcony of Buckingham Palace after the service of thanksgiving at St.Paul's Cathedral on June 5, 2012 in London, England. For only the second time in its history the UK celebrates the Diamond Jubilee of a monarch. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II celebrates the 60th anniversary of her ascension to the throne. Thousands of wellwishers from around the world have flocked to London to witness the spectacle of the weekend's celebrations. (Photo credit: Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

  • (L-R) Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Price Harry wave to the crowds from Buckingham Palace during the Diamond Jubilee carriage procession after the service of thanksgiving at St.Paul's Cathedral on the Mall on June 5, 2012 in London, England. For only the second time in its history the UK celebrates the Diamond Jubilee of a monarch. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II celebrates the 60th anniversary of her ascension to the throne. Thousands of wellwishers from around the world have flocked to London to witness the spectacle of the weekend's celebrations. (Photo credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

  • British police lead flag waving crowds lining the monarch's route from the Houses of Parliament to Buckingham Palace to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in London on June 5, 2012. Britain's Queen Elizabeth II wraps up four days of diamond jubilee celebrations with a thanksgiving service and ceremonial carriage procession in London, a formal contrast to the spectacular pop tribute staged outside Buckingham Palace the day before. (Photo credit: AFP PHOTO / JOHN MACDOUGALLJOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Royal Air force Red Arrow display team fly pass Buckingham Palace in London where Britain Queen Elizabeth II watches from the palace balcony as part of a four-day Diamond Jubilee celebration to mark the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II accession to the throne, Tuesday, June 5, 2012. (Photo credit: AP Photo/Sang Tan)

  • Queen Elizabeth II travels by carriage to Buckingham Palace with Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales after a lunch at Westminster Hall as part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

  • Queen Elizabeth II travels through Trafalgar Square, London with the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall on route to Buckingham Palace during the Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

  • Queen Elizabeth II travels by carriage to Buckingham Palace with Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales after a lunch at Westminster Hall as part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

  • Queen Elizabeth II travels by carriage to Buckingham Palace with Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales after a lunch at Westminster Hall as part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

  • Queen Elizabeth II travels by carriage to Buckingham Palace with Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales after a lunch at Westminster Hall in London.

  • Queen Elizabeth II travels by carriage to Buckingham Palace with Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales after a lunch at Westminster Hall as part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

  • Queen Elizabeth II travels by carriage to Buckingham Palace with Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales after a lunch at Westminster Hall as part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

  • The Duchess of Cambridge arrives for a lunch at Westminster Hall in London with 700 guests on the final day of Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

  • The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge travel in a carriage to Buckingham Palace along The Mall, London.

  • Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge attends a reception at Guildhall in central London for Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee.

  • The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge travel in a carriage to Buckingham Palace along The Mall, London.

  • The Duchess of Cambridge arrives for a lunch at Westminster Hall in London with 700 guests on the final day of Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

  • Prince Harry and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attend a service of thanksgiving to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II at St Paul's Cathedral, London.

  • The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge leave Westminster Hall after a Diamond Jubilee Luncheon given for The Queen by The Livery Companies of The City of London.

  • Members of the public gather along Whitehall to try and get a glimpse of the Queen on her way back to Buckingham Palace, London as part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

  • Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu attend a reception at Guildhall in central London for Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee.

  • Princess Beatrice attends a reception at Guildhall in central London for Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee.

  • Britain's Queen Elizabeth II waves next to the Dean of St. Paul's David Ison as she leaves St Paul's Cathedral after the National Service of Thanksgiving in London on June 5, 2012. Britain's Queen Elizabeth II wraps up four days of diamond jubilee celebrations and festivities will conclude with a ceremonial carriage procession in London, a formal contrast to the spectacular pop tribute staged outside Buckingham Palace the day before. (Photo credit: IAN KINGTON/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Britain's Queen Elizabeth II waves as she leaves St Paul's Cathedral after the National Service of Thanksgiving in London on June 5, 2012. Britain's Queen Elizabeth II wraps up four days of diamond jubilee celebrations and festivities will conclude with a ceremonial carriage procession in London, a formal contrast to the spectacular pop tribute staged outside Buckingham Palace the day before. (Photo credit: IAN KINGTON/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Britain's Queen Elizabeth II walks down the staris next to the Dean of St. Paul's David Ison as she leaves St Paul's Cathedral after the National Service of Thanksgiving in London on June 5, 2012. Britain's Queen Elizabeth II wraps up four days of diamond jubilee celebrations and festivities will conclude with a ceremonial carriage procession in London, a formal contrast to the spectacular pop tribute staged outside Buckingham Palace the day before. (Photo credit: IAN KINGTON/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (Top C) and members of the Royal Family leave St Paul's Cathedral in London, following a service of thanksgiving on June 5, 2012, during the Queen's diamond jubilee. Queen Elizabeth II attended the final day of celebrations for her diamond jubilee Tuesday, but the pomp and splendour were marred by the absence of her husband Prince Philip after he was hospitalised. (Photo credit: JEFF J MITCHELL/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Overall inside view taken as Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (bottom) arrives at St Paul's Cathedral for National Service of Thanksgiving to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in London on June 5, 2012. Britain's Queen Elizabeth II wraps up four days of diamond jubilee celebrations and festivities will conclude with a ceremonial carriage procession in London, a formal contrast to the spectacular pop tribute staged outside Buckingham Palace the day before. (Photo credit: JEFF J MITCHELL/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (front R) and his wife Samantha Cameron (front L) and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg (R) and his wife Miriam Gonzales leave St Paul's Cathedral after a National Service of Thanksgiving to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in London on June 5, 2012. Britain's Queen Elizabeth II wraps up four days of diamond jubilee celebrations and festivities will conclude with a ceremonial carriage procession in London, a formal contrast to the spectacular pop tribute staged outside Buckingham Palace the day before. (Photo credit: STEFAN ROUSSEAU/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Diamond Jubilee celebrations

    Queen Elizabeth II holds a bouquet of flowers as she returns to Buckingham Palace after attending a National Service of Thanksgiving and a Lunch in honour of her Diamond Jubilee.

  • Diamond Jubilee celebrations

    Queen Elizabeth II, followed by the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry, leave Westminster Hall at the Palace of Westminster, London, following the Diamond Jubilee Lunch.

  • Diamond Jubilee celebrations

    Queen Elizabeth II, followed by the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry, leave Westminster Hall at the Palace of Westminster, London, following the Diamond Jubilee Lunch.

  • Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall attends a reception at Guildhall in central London for Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee. (Photo credit: Chris Jackson/PA Wire)

  • Princess Beatrice (left) and Princess Eugenie leave following a service of thanksgiving, at Saint Paul's Cathedral, in central London. (Photo credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire)

  • Zara Phillips leaves following a service of thanksgiving, at Saint Paul's Cathedral, in central London. (Photo credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA )

  • Prime Minister David Cameron reads during the service of thanksgiving for the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, at St Paul's Cathedral, London. (Photo credit should read: Tim Ireland/PA Wire)

  • Crowds watch as the royal motorcade passes along Parliament Street, in London. (Photo credit should read: Matthew Lloyd/PA Wire)

  • A service of thanksgiving to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II takes place at St Paul's Cathedral, London. (Photo credit: Murray Sanders/Daily Mail/PA Wire)

  • Prime Minister David Cameron and wife Samantha Cameron attend a service of thanksgiving to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II at St Paul's Cathedral, London. (Photo credit: Murray Sanders/Daily Mail/PA Wire)

  • (left - right) Prime Minister David Cameron, chats with his wife Samantha Cameron, alongside Nick Clegg and his wife Miriam Gonzalez Durantez and Foreign Secretary, William Hague and his wife Ffion Hague, as they attend a National Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral in central London, as part of four days of celebrations to mark the Diamond Jubilee. (Photo credit: Joel Ryan/PA Wire)

  • Labour leader Ed Miliband attends a service of thanksgiving to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II at St Paul's Cathedral, London. (Photo credit should read: Suzanne Plunkett/PA Wire)

  • Princess Eugenie attends a reception at Guildhall in central London for Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee. (Photo credit: Chris Jackson/PA Wire)

  • Sophie, Countess of Wessex attends a reception at Guildhall in central London for Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee. (Photo credit: Chris Jackson/PA Wire)

  • The Duchess of Cornwall and the Prince Harry, arrive at Westminster Hall at the Palace of Westminster, London, for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Lunch. (Photo credit: Nick Ansell/PA Wire)

  • Queen Elizabeth II, followed by the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke of Cambridge, arrives at Westminster Hall at the Palace of Westminster, London, for the Diamond Jubilee Lunch. (Photo credit: Nick Ansell/PA Wire)

  • Queen Elizabeth II, at Westminster Hall at the Palace of Westminster, London, during her Diamond Jubilee Lunch. (Photo credit: Nick Ansell/PA Wire)

  • Prime Minister David Cameron, Samantha Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg attend a service of thanksgiving to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II takes place at St Paul's Cathedral, London. (Photo credit: Suzanne Plunkett/PA Wire)

  • British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne (R) and his wife Frances (L) arrive for a national service of thanksgiving for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee at Saint Paul's Cathedral in London on June 5, 2012. Britain's Queen Elizabeth II wraps up four days of diamond jubilee celebrations with a thanksgiving service and ceremonial carriage procession in London, a formal contrast to the spectacular pop tribute staged outside Buckingham Palace the day before. (Photo credit: STEFAN ROUSSEAU/AFP/GettyImages)

  • British Foreign Secretary William Hague (L) and his wife Ffion (R) arrive for a national service of thanksgiving for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee at Saint Paul's Cathedral in London on June 5, 2012. Britain's Queen Elizabeth II wraps up four days of diamond jubilee celebrations with a thanksgiving service and ceremonial carriage procession in London, a formal contrast to the spectacular pop tribute staged outside Buckingham Palace the day before. (Photo credit: STEFAN ROUSSEAU/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Britain's Prince William (L) and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (R) leave Saint Paul's Cathedral after a national service of thanksgiving for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in London on June 5, 2012. Britain's Queen Elizabeth II wraps up four days of diamond jubilee celebrations with a thanksgiving service and ceremonial carriage procession in London, a formal contrast to the spectacular pop tribute staged outside Buckingham Palace the day before. (Photo credit: IAN KINGTON/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (R) follows the Sword of State carried into St Paul's Cathedral for a national service of thanksgiving for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in London on June 5, 2012. Britain's Queen Elizabeth II wraps up four days of diamond jubilee celebrations with a thanksgiving service and ceremonial carriage procession in London, a formal contrast to the spectacular pop tribute staged outside Buckingham Palace the day before. (Photo credit: JEFF J MITCHELL/AFP/GettyImages)

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