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British Cardinal makes history preaching to Queen

For the first time in over 400 years, a Catholic has preached to the British Royal Family in one of its own churches.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor called for Christian unity as he gave a historic sermon to an audience including the Queen at Sandringham.

The head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales was optimistic about the prospect of different denominations coming together.

Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor preached during a service at St Mary's Church on the Royal estate in Norfolk.

Since the Reformation in the 16th Century, the monarch has been the head of the Church of England. The law prevents a Catholic taking the throne.

"We have good reason to hope that Christian unity will eventually come about," the cardinal told a congregation which included the Duke of Edinburgh and the Earl and Countess of Wessex. "We should not be disheartened if we think that sometimes progress is slow."

A crowd of about 200 people, including a group of nuns from a convent in nearby Swaffham, gathered outside to hear the sermon broadcast on a public address system.