Archbishop Paul Gallagher to represent Pope Francis at Queen Elizabeth II's funeral
Pope Francis' representative at the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II will be veteran Vatican diplomat Archbishop Paul Gallagher, Holy See press office director Matteo Bruni said on Friday.
Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-reigning monarch in British history, died at the age of 96 on Sept. 8 at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. As British monarch, she was also the titular head of the Church of England, which separated from the Catholic Church in the 16th century.
The queen's funeral will take place at Westminster Abbey in London on Sept. 19.
Since 2014, Archbishop Gallagher has served as Secretary for Relations with States and International Organizations in the Holy See's Secretariat of State. His recent work includes a fact-finding mission to Ukraine in the wake of the Russian invasion.
Gallagher, 68, is a British national. He was born in Liverpool and attended St. Francis Xavier High School there.
He has served in the Holy See's diplomatic service since 1984. His long diplomatic career includes service as apostolic nuncio to Australia, a Commonwealth country, from 2012 to 2014.
In 2000, Pope John Paul II appointed him Special Envoy leading the Permanent Observer Mission to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. He has also served as apostolic nuncio to Burundi and to Guatemala.
He was consecrated as an archbishop in March 2004. He is the titular Archbishop of Hodelm, a former Catholic diocese in Scotland.
In 1977, Archbishop Derek Worlock of Liverpool ordained Gallagher a priest, according to the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales. His first assignment was assistant priest at Holy Name parish in the Liverpool suburb of Fazarkerley. In that role, he was chaplain to Fazarkerley Hospital, now known as University Hospital Aintree.
Archbishop Gallagher's role follows the outpouring of sympathy and messages from the pope and other Catholic bishops.
Pope Francis said in a telegram he was "deeply saddened" to learn of Queen Elizabeth's death. He offered condolences to the new monarch, King Charles III, the Royal Family, and the people of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth.
Pope Francis' message of condolence continued: "I willingly join all who mourn her loss in praying for the late Queen's eternal rest, and in paying tribute to her life of unstinting service to the good of the Nation and the Commonwealth, her example of devotion to duty, her steadfast witness of faith in Jesus Christ and her firm hope in his promises."