If there are gates made of pearls, Billy Graham surely passed through them this morning. William Franklin Graham, known to the world as Billy Graham, passed on at age 99. Born in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1918, the world famous evangelical Baptist minister died in Montreat, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains near the Pisgah National Forest. Graham once said, ‘My home is in heaven, I’m just traveling through this world.’ He’s gone home.
Among the world’s most powerful and influential people including presidents and heads of state, Graham was a friend and spiritual adviser to Queen Elizabeth II. Graham preached for her and the Royal Family on a number of occasions.
Here’s what you need to know about Billy Graham and Queen Elizabeth II:
1. Billy Graham & the Queen First Met Each Other in 1954
During his world travels, Graham sailed across the pond in 1954 and there met with the newly crowned Queen Elizabeth II. Their friendship would last more than half a century. Graham wrote about the Queen, visited with her on a number of occasions and preached to the Royal Family at both Windsor and Sandringham, the latter is one of two personal and private residences owned by The Royal Family.
2.Graham Featured Memories of the Queen in His Book Called ‘In His Own Words’
Graham shared a number of memories about HRH in his book including at once candid and quiet moments.
“No one in Britain has been more cordial toward us then Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Almost every occasion I have been with her has been in a warm, informal setting, such as a luncheon or dinner.
Her official position has prevented her from openly endorsing our Crusade meetings. But by welcoming us and having me preach on several occasions to the royal family at Windsor and Sandringham, she has gone out of her way to be quietly supportive of our mission. She is unquestionably one of the best-informed people on world affairs I have ever met.”
3. Billy Graham Wished the Queen a ‘Happy 90th Birthday’ on His Facebook Page
“After preaching at Windsor one Sunday, I was sitting next to the Queen at lunch. I told her I had been undecided until the last minute about my choice of sermon and had almost preached on the healing of the crippled man in John 5. Her eyes sparkled and she bubbled over with enthusiasm, as she could do on occasion. ‘I wish you had!’ she exclaimed. ‘That is my favorite story.'”
4. Graham Says He Was Most Moved By the Queen’s Devotion to Her Mother & the Queen Mother Herself
From his book, ‘Just As I Am,’ Graham spoke of ‘A Mother’s Faith.’
“I believe one reason for the Queen’s spiritual interest was the warm faith of her mother, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.” Graham described being warmly greeted by the Queen Mother. “We were there about an hour, and within five minutes we felt relaxed because they both were so gracious.”
“But more than anything,” Graham wrote, “the Queen Mother always impressed me with her quiet but firm faith. The last time I preached at Windsor, as I walked in I saw her sitting over to my right, with others in the royal family. She deliberately caught my eye and gestured slightly to let me know she was supporting me and praying for me.”
5.The Netflix Series ‘The Crown’ Featured an Episode About Graham & Queen Elizabeth II
In the second season the of the popular Netflix series, ‘The Crown,’ an episode was devoted to the meeting of the Queen and Billy Graham.
In this scene, Claire Foy, who portrays Queen Elizabeth II, watches grainy black and white television with her mother, Queen Elizabeth, known as the Queen Mother. The latter mocks the preacher Graham for selling brushes door to door in the US, but the newly crowned Queen says, “But there’s a humility to that which I like.”
Whether she said those exact words or not may not matter; the show is a dramatization. The Queen is a woman of faith, Graham said. In fact, she is so named as the Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England. The episode featuring Graham also happens to be the episode where the Duke of Windsor’s Nazi connections are explored. There’s no shortage of commentary on the truth and/or fiction of the TV episode featuring Graham, but that they had a decades long friendship is not in dispute.