The honor and the burden of celebrating the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth IIthe first for a ruler in Westminster, for 262 years when George II died it is up to Reverend David Hoyle, 57, who on 16 November 2019 became – in charge of appointing the queen, head of the Anglican Church – the 39th Dean of England’s most prestigious abbey, with the task of overseeing the spiritual life of the church and guiding the community. Hoyle studied history and then theology at Corpus Christi College in Cambridge, before earning a Phd, a research doctorate, hence the title of doctor which is added to the religious title of very reverend, very reverend, with a thesis on the last stages of the Reformation in England.
Trained for the ministry at Ripon College, Cuddesdon, he was curate of the Church of the Good Shepherd, Cambridge, from 1986 to 1988, then moved on as chaplain, then dean of chapel and finally fellow of Magdalene College, Cambridge, where he was director of theological studies. In 1995 he became vicar of Christ Church, Southgate in London, before moving to Gloucester in 2002 as director of the ministry and resident canon of Gloucester Cathedral. From 2010 to 2019 David Hoyle was dean of Bristol.
David Holyle, as stated in the abbey’s official curriculum, is particularly interested in theological education, has written books on ministry and doctrine, and has extensive experience in school management. During his ministry in Bristol, he was involved in the debate on transatlantic slavery and the management of charitable works and was involved in social doctrine. He was president of the College of Deans from 2018 to 2020. Outside of his ministry he does not hide his interest in literature and art and loves to walk.
In 2020 he was awarded the MBE (the most excellent order of the British Empire), a knightly honor reserved for those who have distinguished themselves for artistic, scientific or social merits. Reverend Hoyle himself told CBS that the same queen, a fervent Anglican, before dying, was able to make him perceive “How important Westminster Abbey was for her and how much she was linked to it: it was the church where she was married and crowned “as well as the one in which she gave her last farewell to the Queen Mother in 2002 and to her husband Prince Philip of Edinburgh, who passed away in 2021 almost 100 years old.
The state funeral ceremony, officiated in Westminster starting at 11 September 19, is prepared in detail and defined by the protocol drawn up by Buckingham Palace. Wanted by the queen also for its size, which can accommodate up to 2,000 people, the Abbey will be open only to guestsincluding a hundred heads of state from all over the world (excluding Russians and Belarusians). Representing Pope Francis and the Holy See will be Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States and International Organizations.
The complexity that the visibility and this concentration of authority give to the event prompted the Washington Post the event to define the ceremony “the worst nightmare” of every security officer. Especially since the visibility will be amplified by live TV which will make it one of the most followed events in history all over the planet. Ordinary citizens will be able to pay tribute to the queen until 6.30 on Monday 19, the rest of the ceremony will be the prerogative of the authorities. At the end of the rite which will include a sermon by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the sovereign will be buried in Windsor, in the Chapel of St. George where her parents, sister and husband rest.