Prince Charles Plans to Break Tradition with Multi-Faith Coronation

The Prince of Wales is to make a dramatic break with hundreds of years of tradition as he insists on a multi-faith coronation.

Published 26 October 2006  |  
Despite calls from Christian leaders that Prince Charles should be a defender of 'the' faith, reports indicate that the heir to the throne has made it clear he wants to be crowned King in a multi-faith coronation service in a dramatic break with tradition.

The Prince of Wales is said to have decided that the Christian service in Westminster Abbey must be followed by a separate ceremony involving religious leaders from other faiths.

Held in the ancient Westminster Hall inside the Palace of Westminster, the service would attempt to give room to Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and Sikh beliefs as well as other Christian denominations.

Prince Charles believes reforms to the coronation are vital to reflect the changes in British society that have taken place since the Queen was crowned in 1953, according to a report in this week's Spectator magazine.

But the Evangelical Alliance, which represents over one million Evangelical Christians in the UK, is calling for him to swear the traditional coronation oath to be 'Defender of the Faith' - specifically the Anglican Church.

In addition, the Prince of Wales' decision puts him at odds with the feelings of the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams and with most Anglican bishops who oppose such a move.

The crowning of the sovereign has taken place for almost 1,000 years at Westminster Abbey. The new king or queen takes the coronation oath which includes a pledge to maintain the Church of England.

Clarence House has always declined to discuss Prince Charles' coronation plans while the Queen is alive.

However, a senior source told the Daily Mail that the accession plans had been reviewed last year, though he insisted this was "routine".

Prince Charles, who will become Supreme Governor of the Church of England when he becomes king, has already said that he wants to be Defender of Faith - not Defender of the Faith - when he accedes to the throne.

He is close to Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, who has also called for a multi-faith coronation.

At her coronation in 1953, the Queen swore to uphold "the laws of God and the true profession of the Gospel, maintain the Protestant reformed religion established by law and maintain and reserve inviolably the settlement of the Church of England".

The Spectator article quotes a courtier as saying the Queen recognises, however, that she has no say over her son's coronation service.

"Her Majesty has carried out her duties to the letter throughout her life and she knows that they extend to the very end of the final act," he says.

"She recognises, however, that she should not exert her influence one second beyond the conclusion of her funeral. The coronation is a matter solely for the PoW."

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