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'That bond is faith' | Queen Elizabeth II and Reverend Billy Graham shared special connection

England is second to Graham’s most appearances with 21 visits to Great Britain.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — After a chance viewing of Reverend Billy Graham on television in 1955, Queen Elizabeth II invited the Charlottean for a visit.

David Bruce, Graham’s longtime assistant and executive vice president of the soon-to-be-opened Billy Graham Archive and Research Center, told WCNC Charlotte’s Jane Monreal that Graham was first invited to preach in England in 1954. 

Then in 1955, the BBC broadcast his appearance in Scotland.

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“Prince Philip and the Queen saw Mr. Graham on the television program and that set a chain of events to her inviting him to come to Buckingham Palace for a meeting,” Bruce said. “That set in motion, years of a relationship and friendship.”

RELATED: Operation Unicorn: What happens in the 10 days after Queen Elizabeth's death

Graham was in London for three weeks after that initial meeting. Bruce said the two met on at least three more occasions while he was there.

“We know there at least 12 documented times he met with the Queen,” Bruce said. “That bond was based on that first program she heard him preach in 1955. That bond is faith.”

As people around the world continue to mourn Queen Elizabeth II's passing, Charlotteans are observing the end of an era. 

“It’s the time of mourning but it’s also a time of reflection thinking about how she has touched everyone’s lives," Emily Williams, secretary of the British Club of Charlotte, said. "She’s been a constant in so many people’s lives for so long.”

Contact Jane Monreal at jmonreal@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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