WHEN the nation falls silent on Sunday evening for a minute’s silence it will be a poignant end to a service dedicated to the Queen’s memory at Glasgow Cathedral.

The late monarch and her husband the Duke of Edinburgh had visited the cathedral on many occasions and the service will be held to reflect her connection to Scotland’s largest city as well as being an opportunity for people to come together.

Reverend Mark E Johnstone will lead the service and will be joined by Reverend Ian Black, Chaplain to Glasgow Cathedral and Reverend Hilary McDougall, Moderator Presbytery of Glasgow. Civic leaders will also attend including the Deputy Lord Provost , Bailie Christy Mearns, the Lord Dean of Guild and the Deacon Convener.

Read more: Princess Royal Glasgow: Crowds welcome Anne as she visits tributes to the Queen

Mr Johnstone has his own memories of meeting the late Queen. During his time in the ministry, he was invited to spend a weekend at Balmoral Castle and gave a sermon at nearby Crathie Kirk attended by members of the Royal Family.

The Queen had a strong connection during her 70-year reign and it was a visit to East Park Primary School in Maryhill which is believed to have been the last time the Queen met members of the public in Scotland. She was presented with a jar of honey by an eight-year-old, the Queen gave a beaming smile.


Glasgow Cathedral will host a service in memory of the Queen on Sunday, September 18

Glasgow Cathedral will host a service in memory of the Queen on Sunday, September 18


Rev Johnstone said this would be a service of preparation for the Queen’s funeral.

“The service will conclude with the minute’s silence and it will be a powerful moment,” said Mr Johnstone. “We are not going to finish with any music and as people leave we are going to have the final prayer and then ask people to remain standing for the silence and then leave in their own time. The service will feel like something that is more appropriate for an evening – quieter and sombre and more reflective.

“It could be a very moving moment. We want to offer a service that has what I would call multiple entry points. It is not overly heavy in terms of it necessarily being for church-goers, I think anyone will still get something out of it .

“Excerpts of her Christmas addresses will be woven in as she often spoke about how important her faith was and also the importance of small acts of kindness. One feature of the service will be the reading of the Makar Kathleen Jamie’s poem to the Queen, Lochnagar.”

Drawing the service to a close will be a moment for reflection for many people.

Read more: King Charles III leads mourners at St Giles' Cathedral service of thanksgiving for the Queen

Mr Johnstone added: “There is a prayer, with the words my life is fulfilled and I can go now which is a way to slow down the service and end with it ahead of the silence. It will hopefully be a service that those involved with church can take something out of it and also those less involved can also come and feel as though they have done something respectful and preparatory for the funeral.

“There is a real sense of absence and loss which I think has come to the fore for many people.”


Rev Dr Morris and Queen at Glasgow Cathedral in May 1969

Rev Dr Morris and Queen at Glasgow Cathedral in May 1969


The Queen attended the cathedral on many occasions and to the right hand side of the chancel there was a seat for the Queen, which had her ER monogram, and for the late duke. It is a place which lies empty and on Sunday will remain so as a mark of respect.

Mr Johnstone recalled his own memories of the Queen and said she had the ability to put you at ease.

“While I was a parish minister in Kirkintilloch, East Dunbartonshire, I was invited to spend the weekend at Balmoral and preached at Crathie Kirk,” he added. “I remember spending the Sunday afternoon walking in the hills with the Queen followed by a barbecue at the log cabin in the evening.

“I had preached at Crathie Kirk that morning and the family must have spoken about the sermon for an hour afterwards which I can tell you as a minister doesn’t often happen."


Scotland remembers 100 years of Armistice with a service at Glasgow Cathedral with HRH The Princess Royal

Scotland remembers 100 years of Armistice with a service at Glasgow Cathedral with HRH The Princess Royal


He added: “When I arrived I walked into the lounge, where we saw the Queen greet Prime Minister Liz Truss, and the Queen was playing Patience. She looked up and signalled to me to come in. The first thing she said was ‘so tell me about Kirkintilloch.’

“I remember she said to me ‘I think people in the ministry have a very difficult job,’ to which I said I thought her job was more complex than mine.”

One thing that stood out for Mr Johnstone was a brooch the Queen was wearing which she pointed to.

"I commented on it as it was a lovely Maple Leaf and she looked at me and said 'well you did work in Canada for a couple of years.' She was very engaged and was very able to make you feel relaxed and comfortable."

Anyone who wishes to attend can register at glasgowcathedral.org for Sunday’s service.