Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Billy Graham on his royal friendship

Billy Graham, who has died at the age of 99, was one of the best known preachers of the 20th century but one very important friendship was kept discreetly low key. In his later years, he wrote about it on his own website and in the past few months it's been debated once more after being included in series 2 of The Crown. As the world remembers Billy Graham, let's remember his friendship with the Queen.

Billy Graham wrote in his autobiography that ''no one has been more cordial to us that Her Majesty The Queen''.  The two first met in the 1950s when Graham was visiting the UK. Although he said that manners prevent him going into too much detail about his visits to the Queen, he spoke more than once about meeting her and preaching to her and her family. He also praised her deep faith.

In an article published on his website in 2016, when the Queen turned 90, he described her as one of the ''best informed people on world affairs'' he had ever met and talked about the warmth with which she had greeted him and his wife. He also shared a photo of the two together - a rare image.

Billy Graham was born on November 7th 1918 in Charlotte, North Carolina and was ordained as a minister in 1939. He began his crusades in 1947 and first visited London to preach in 1954. It is estimated he preached to around 210 million people throughout his life and he also famously took his message to TV - in The Crown, this is how Elizabeth II is seen to first encounter his work. Billy Graham died at his home in Montreat, North Carolina on February 21st 2018.

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