Minister ‘honoured’ to be recognised by King for support following Queen’s death

A minister who comforted the late Queen in her final days and supported the royal family following her death has said he feels “honoured” to be recognised by the King.

Rev Kenneth MacKenzie has been made a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order (LVO) in recognition of his distinguished personal service to the monarch and members of the royal family.

The minister of the Parish of Braemar and Crathie in Aberdeenshire is a member of the Chapel Royal and has provided pastoral and spiritual support to the royals since 2005.

Members of the royal family worship at Crathie Kirk while they are staying at nearby Balmoral Castle – a haven that was loved by Queen Elizabeth II and her husband the late Duke of Edinburgh.

Mr MacKenzie, a domestic chaplain, was on hand to comfort the family following the Queen’s death at Balmoral in September 2022.

Speaking for the first time since being named in the King’s Birthday Honours, he said: “I am honoured to have been awarded this recognition directly by His Majesty the King.

Crathie Kirk
Crathie Kirk is situated near Balmoral in Aberdeenshire (Jane Barlow/PA)

“In making this presentation, he, and by extension other members of the royal family, has once again publicly acknowledged and expressed his gratitude for the prayerful pastoral support that has been offered to him and the family by the church and in particular by the Chapel Royal in Scotland down through the ages, and especially in recent years.

“These awards are only ever given to individuals, but in every case the recipient has always represented a much wider body.

“At the time of the late Queen’s death in Balmoral, I was the chaplain most closely engaged with the royal family and was simply being and doing what any of my colleagues would be and do in any similar situation.”

Mr MacKenzie ministered to the Queen in her final days and was part of the funeral cortege from Balmoral to the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh.

He and other members of the Chapel Royal also kept watch over her coffin while it lay at rest in the palace and later at St Giles’ Cathedral.

Royal chaplains supported the royal family throughout the period of mourning and Mr MacKenzie played an official role during a service at St George’s Chapel at Windsor where the late Queen was laid to rest.

King and Queen on steps of Crathie church
Charles and Camilla leaving a service at Crathie Kirk last September to mark the first anniversary of the death of the late Queen (PA)

There are 10 chaplains to the King in Scotland and each normally holds office until the age of 70.

The role dates back to the 15th century and members of the Chapel Royal take part in formal state occasions and conduct services at significant national events.

Prince Edward, the Duke of Edinburgh, represented the King as Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland last month and paid tribute to the Chapel Royal.

He said: “For my own part, I want to pay personal tribute to the chaplains of the Chapel Royal, and especially those here in Scotland.

“There have been moments recently when I feel I have been lucky to have sensed God’s care and love. Who can forget the scenes that followed the passing of my mother?

“The outpouring of emotions, the demonstration of respect, love and grief was overwhelming and a privilege to experience and behold.

“I think I can speak for my whole family when I say that we will remain forever grateful for that support.

“Coming so soon after the passing of my father, which of course happened while we were still under pandemic restrictions, made everything far more emotional.

“I was really touched and comforted by the manner in which the chaplains made us all feel behind closed doors and away from the public gaze and scrutiny.”

The Royal Victorian Order was established by Queen Victoria in 1896 as a personal award to recognise “distinguished personal service” to the monarch and their household.