Bishop recalls Queen Elizabeth's witty response after her Bentley suddenly broke down

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Speaking in Parliament today, the Most Rev Stephen Cottrell told those in attendance that like other bishops, he had stories of visits to the Queen’s Sandringham estate in Norfolk. He described how on one occasion he “a large sign of the cross” over the Queen’s Bentley after the driver struggled to start the car. The Archbishop of York told the chamber: “I had preached in Sandringham parish church. We were standing outside. The Bentley was there to get the Queen, the Bentley didn’t start.

“It made that throaty noise that cars make in the middle of winter when they are not going to start.

“Everybody stands there doing nothing. I am expecting a policeman to intervene. Nothing happens.

“Enjoying the theatre of the moment I step forward and made a large sign of the cross over the Queen’s car to the enjoyment of the crowd. There were hundreds of people there – it was the Queen.

“I see the Queen out the corner of my eye looking rather stony faced at this point and I think perhaps I’ve over-stepped the mark.”

He added that when the driver tried the car again, the vehicle miraculously started before the Queen got in and returned to Sandringham.

But in a delightful moment upon their return to the royal residence in Norfolk, the Queen smiled broadly and described how the Archbishop of York “healed my car”.

The bishop continued: “Anyway, the driver tries the car again and praise the Lord, the car started. The Queen gets in and goes back to Sandringham. I follow in another car.

“When I arrive at Sandringham as I come into lunch, the Queen with a beaming smile says ‘Ah, bishop. It’s the bishop. He healed my car’.”

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They also hailed her impact on the entire country and beyond during her 70 years on the throne – meaning she was the longest-serving British monarch ever.

The second day of tributes ran for more than seven hours today. Saturday sittings in the Commons are extremely rare – this was only the second since 1982.

Conservative MP for Windsor Adam Afriyie was the last of the backbenchers top contribute to the session and said “there was no escape” from bumping into the “omnipresent” Queen if you lived in the Berkshire town.

Newly-appointed Commons leader Penny Mordaunt closed the tributes, and said: “Our great Queen has entrusted us all with a living legacy of triumph over tribulation, of cheerfulness over challenge, of dedication and determination.

“She has left us, her values remain with us, her example compels us to continued fidelity to our King and our country. God save the King.”

Earlier in the day, the UK’s new Prime Minister and other political party leaders took the oath of allegiance to the King.

Before the second day of tributes to the Queen began, a select group of senior MPs were also provided with the opportunity to formally pledge their loyalty to Charles at the Commons despatch box.

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