King’s coronation will be ‘deeply representative’ of nation, says Welby
he Archbishop of Canterbury has said the King’s coronation will be “deeply representative” of the nation as he denied claims of tensions with the monarch over the involvement of faith leaders.
Justin Welby replied “absolutely not” when asked about reports of “tension” between church leaders and Charles which claimed the issue had delayed the publication of the ceremony’s order of service.
The King has championed interfaith dialogue and celebrated the major non-Christian faiths practised in the UK for many years.
But the Mail on Sunday reported church leaders were resisting what they claimed was the King’s desire for a more active role for faith leaders from religions such as Judaism and Islam during the coronation on May 6.
What there is, is a deep sense – both of reflecting our tradition but also reflecting the fact that we’re infinitely more diverse than we were in 1953
Mr Welby told the BBC: “On the 6th, the service is deeply Christian and when it’s published you’ll see it’s also representative of the people of this land.”
It is thought the senior cleric made his comments when he joined Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and leading figures from the Muslim, Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist communities at a homeless charity in central London as they urged Britons to volunteer over the coronation weekend.
Asked about the claims of tensions, the Archbishop replied: “None whatsoever, no tension, absolutely not.
“What there is, is a deep sense – both of reflecting our tradition but also reflecting the fact that we’re infinitely more diverse than we were in 1953.”
The King caused controversy in 1994 when he spoke of his desire to become “Defender of Faith” rather than “Defender of the Faith” as monarch – raising the prospect of a major change in the ancient relationship between the Church of England and the monarchy.
Charles later said in 2015 that he believed it was possible to be “Defender of the Faith” as well as being a protector of faiths, and he was proclaimed Defender of the Faith at his Accession Council in September.
In a reception for faith leaders after the Queen’s death, he described himself as a “committed Anglican Christian”, saying he would take “an oath at his coronation relating to the settlement of the Church of England”.
But he said he believed the sovereign has a less formally recognised additional 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”.
A senior Church official involved in coronation planning said: “The claims in a recent article in the Mail on Sunday are baseless.
“Lambeth Palace and Buckingham Palace are in complete agreement about every aspect of the coronation and we look forward to sharing more details about the service over the coming weeks.”