Early in her reign, one Saturday night, the Prime Minister arrived at Windsor and sent an urgent request to her Majesty for an audience as early as possible on Sunday morning on ‘important state business.’ The Queen sent her regrets that she could not see him that night, as she had already retired, but said she hoped to see him at the eleven o’clock service in St. George’s Chapel, and would like the pleasure of his company to luncheon afterward.
Early Sunday morning she sent a message to the preacher of the morning, requesting him to preach ‘a good, strong sermon on the necessity for Sabbath observance.’ The Cabinet minister went to church. Her Majesty was there, and at the close of the service they met. During the lunch she asked his opinion of the sermon. He had not much to say about it. Later, his lordship was invited to dine with the Queen. Nothing whatever was said of the ‘very urgent business.’
When bidding him good-night, her Majesty said: ‘I can give your lordship an audience as early to-morrow morning as you please. What hour shall it be—five or six o’clock ? ‘ Oh, thank your Majesty, but I would not think of disturbing you at such an unseemly hour. Nine o’clock will do.’ That was the last time that Queen Victoria was requested to attend to ‘important state affairs’ on Sunday.
My two cents
I like recollections like this because they demonstrate that religion precedes politics i.e. the latter should be shaped by the former, and not the other way around. I would like to see modern-day Prime Ministers doing the same as the English Prime Minister mentioned above. I’d like to know the last time that any Prime Minister (of any country) made it a point to desist from work on a Sunday.
Hiorns, R. (1902). Disregard Of The Christian Sabbath. Available: http://www.oldandsold.com/articles24/speaking-oak-121.shtml. Last accessed 11 Feb 2012.