The Sunday Telegraph reports that the coronation of the next Monarch of the United Kingdom, which will be Prince Charles, will not be exclusively an Anglican (Church of England) ceremony and will feature a wide range of religions to reflect the UK’s diverse culture.
Church of England sources have, however, have confirmed that it won’t be in the manner of “defender of all faiths” that Prince Charles famously declared he’d like to be, but in a way which includes other faiths but doesn’t damage the Crown’s status as exclusively Protestant.
The Sunday Telegraph says that the presence of people from other faiths will be largely symbolic and will probably be something like lighting candles or the reading of ‘sacred texts’ from the respective religions.
For over 1000 years, the coronation of British and previously English Monarchs has been a sacred ceremony, designed not only to present the Monarch to their people, but to demonstrate a connection with God and recertifying the Divine Right of Kings.
Up until recently, the British Monarchy has largely rejected Catholic association, this new knowledge about the Coronation leads some to think that the Monarchy is becoming less Anglican and some even consider the possibility of a rise in support for disestablishmentarianism.
Prince Charles once famously said that he would like to become ‘defender of the faiths’ when he becomes King rather than being ‘Defender of the Faith’ (originally meaning the Roman Catholic faith, but taken now to mean Church of England) to reflect Britain’s change in culture and diversity.
It is not known whether the Prince of Wales wishes to continue with this idea, or whether advisors have convinced him otherwise.
Many are imagining a slimmed down version of the Coronation for Prince Charles, though this isn’t likely to be so. Coronations must conform to certain standards and protocols, laid out by ancient history and a need to incorporate the vital coronation rituals.
The Coronation Oath Act of 1689 requires the monarch to swear to uphold the Protestant faith, and the ceremony includes Christian sacraments such as Holy Communion and the anointing of the monarch by the Archbishop.
We won’t know anything definite about the Coronation until the time when the Prince of Wales becomes King, however.