The Daily Telegraph

King vows to be defender of all Britain’s faiths

Sovereign promises spiritual leaders he will support religious diversity and says that he will not change Coronation Oath

- By Hannah Furness, Jack Hardy and Daniel Sanderson

‘I have always thought the sovereign has an additional duty ... to protect diversity’

THE King has pledged to protect the multiple faiths of a diverse Britain “no less diligently” than Christiani­ty in his role as head of the Church of England.

The new monarch, addressing religious leaders at a reception in Buckingham Palace, promised to “protect the space for faith itself”, promising to uphold the numerous “religions, cultures, traditions and beliefs to which our hearts and minds direct us”.

King Charles is now Supreme Governor of the Church of England, just like his mother before him, and the palace yesterday confirmed he will not change the wording of his Coronation Oath and will pledge to be “Defender of the Faith”.

It had been reported he was considerin­g altering the oath to make himself “Defender of Faith” or “Defender of the Faiths”, in recognitio­n of his work to promote “interfaith dialogue”. Instead, the King chose to make public his intentions a week into his reign, spelling out his personal commitment to Christiani­ty, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Sikhism and other religions at yesterday’s reception for more than 30 faith leaders.

“I have always thought of Britain as a ‘community of communitie­s’,” he told them. “That has led me to understand that the Sovereign has an additional duty – less formally recognised but to be no less diligently discharged.

“It is the duty to protect the diversity of our country, including by protecting the space for Faith itself and its practise through the religions, cultures, traditions and beliefs to which our hearts and minds direct us as individual­s.”

At the reception, in the Bow Room at Buckingham Palace, the King said: “I also wanted, before all of you today, to confirm my determinat­ion to carry out my responsibi­lities as Sovereign of all communitie­s around this country and the Commonweal­th and in a way which reflects the world in which we now live.

“I am a committed Anglican Christian, and at my Coronation I will take an oath relating to the settlement of the Church of England,” he added. His own Christian

‘Our society can only thrive through freedom of conscience, generosity of spirit, care for others’

beliefs, he said, had “love at their very heart”, adding: “This diversity is not just enshrined in the laws of our country, it is enjoined by my own faith ... by my most profound conviction­s, therefore – as well as by my position as Sovereign – I hold myself bound to respect those who follow other spiritual paths, as well as those who seek to live their lives in accordance with secular ideals.”

“They, and our society, can only thrive through a clear collective commitment to those vital principles of freedom of conscience, generosity of spirit and care for others which are, to me, the essence of our nationhood.”

The King hosted the event shortly before travelling to Westminste­r to rejoin the vigil for his mother along with his siblings the Princess Royal, Duke of York and Earl of Wessex.

On Saturday, Queen Elizabeth’s eight grandchild­ren will perform the same ritual; the first time the grandchild­ren of a monarch have done so en masse for a lying in state.

Earlier yesterday, the King and Queen Consort made their first visit to Wales in their new roles, attending a service for the late Queen at Llandaff Cathedral, Cardiff. It marked the final stop in their tour of the four home nations.

The Queen Consort paid subtle tribute to both Wales and her late motherin-law, wearing a leek brooch given to her by Queen Elizabeth II. King Charles expressed his “immense gratitude” for his time serving as Prince of Wales, as he told the Welsh parliament his eldest son, William, who has taken on the title, also holds a deep love for the country.

In a speech to the Senedd, the Welsh parliament, delivered partly in Welsh, the King said Wales “could not have been closer” to the heart of his mother as he responded to a motion of condolence offered by Mark Drakeford, First Minister of Wales,.

The occasion was not entirely free of acrimony, however. A group of Welsh nationalis­ts booed the monarch as he left the Senedd, but their protests were soon drowned out by cheers.

The King told the Senedd: “Through all the years of her reign, the land of Wales could not have been closer to my mother’s heart.

“I know she took immense pride in your many great achievemen­ts – even as she also felt with you deeply in time of sorrow.

“It must surely be counted the greatest privilege to belong to a land that could inspire such devotion. I am resolved to honour that selfless example, in the spirit of the words by which I have always tried to live my own life: Ich Dien, I Serve.”

 ?? ?? The Duke of York – permitted to wear uniform by the King – stands vigil over the Queen’s coffin
The Duke of York – permitted to wear uniform by the King – stands vigil over the Queen’s coffin
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