Archbishop of York recalls doing jigsaw puzzle with Queen Elizabeth II

The Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell has described sharing a jigsaw puzzle and watching television with the Queen, revealing the "joyfully simple and ordinary" side of her personality.

Recalling a visit to stay with the monarch at Sandringham, Stephen Cottrell said: "It was a great privilege to be alongside her.

"We sat down after dinner and did a jigsaw and the television was on."

He said her decades of service were "woven into the fabric" of the nation. Archbishop Cottrell was speaking before attending the Accession Council meeting to proclaim King Charles III.

Earlier this year, the senior clergyman stepped in at the 11th hour to lead the service of thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral in celebration of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee after the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, contracted Covid.

There wasn’t a portrayal of such harmony in The Crown, when the Windsors sat round the dining table, doing a puzzle, but we know the Queen is a devotee of the art because, among the artefacts of her private life that were put on exhibition at Sandringham a few years ago, was a completed jigsaw depicting members of her family, which had been presented to her as a gift.

To relax, the Queen liked to watch television, do jigsaw puzzles and crosswords or play Scrabble. Her favourite TV programmes over the years included Last Of The Summer Wine and The Bill.

A number of celebrities have paid tribute to the Queen as she was laid to rest on September 19 2022. Stephen Fry praised the "ritual, ceremony and symbol" of her funeral. The actor and comedian, 65, tuned in to the service from a hotel room in New York from 3am local time. He said on Twitter: "Watching the #queensfuneral from 3am onwards in a New York hotel room somehow brings me closer to it all than if I were back home.

"Words can’t compete with such ritual, ceremony and symbol. Think how many jigsaw puzzles will come from this…"


And so good is the Queen at jigsaws that she insists there is no picture on the box for her to follow. That makes it too easy, she says.

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