Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has contrasted the outpouring of emotion for the Queen with how leaders who “cling to power and privileges” will be regarded.
In an address to a congregation packed with world statesmen, current British politicians and former prime ministers, the archbishop said “leaders of loving service” would be remembered when others are “long forgotten”.
The archbishop has had an occasionally frosty relationship with occupants of No 10, particularly Boris Johnson, who was one of the former prime ministers in Westminster Abbey for the Queen’s state funeral.
In his sermon, the archbishop said: “People of loving service are rare in any walk of life. Leaders of loving service are still rarer.
“But in all cases those who serve will be loved and remembered when those who cling to power and privileges are long forgotten.”
Mr Welby clashed with Mr Johnson on issues such as the policy of sending asylum seekers on a one-way trip to Rwanda and his concern about the collapse in standards in public life, illustrated by the partygate scandal.
But the archbishop, who has been in position since 2013, also had an occasionally strained relationship with Theresa May during her tenure in Downing Street, on subjects such as inequality and welfare reform.
He also criticised David Cameron’s government on subjects including the benefits system and austerity measures.