King Charles’ coronation oath ‘must preserve the freedom of all religious faiths’

The Monarch should swear to defend all religious faiths at his coronation, a group of academics has recommended.

They say such a change to the coronation oath would better suit modern, multicultural Britain and King Charles’s own stated desire to be the defender of all religions rather than just the Anglican Church.

The Constitution Unit at University College London says Queen Elizabeth’s oath at her coronation in 1953 to “defend the faith and uphold the rights of the Church of England” no longer fit a country where a wider variety of religions are practiced.

In the unit’s report, Swearing in the New King: The Accession and Coronation Oaths, Professor Robert Hazell and Dr Bob Morris state: “With the accession of King Charles, questions will continue to arise about its suitability in our more secular and multi-religious society of the new monarch taking a series of oaths favoring Protestantism, the Church of England and the Church of Scotland.”

The unit proposes a number of alternative oaths that can be introduced, ranging from a modest change to a more radical rewrite.

In the first, the new monarch would pledge “to maintain in Great Britain the Protestant Reformed religion instituted by law” but also “to maintain throughout the United Kingdom the protections and freedoms afforded by law to all kinds of religion.” and conviction”.

An alternative ‘Midi’ amendment would mean that the King promises to “respect the forms of establishment of the Protestant religion as enshrined in the law in England and as enshrined in Scotland by the laws made in Scotland”, but crucially also “tolerance and maintain freedom, including religious tolerance, for all [his] Peoples regardless of their different races, religions, beliefs and cultures”.

A third, more fundamental rewrite of the oath would mean that the Monarch swears to “maintain tolerance and liberty, including religious tolerance” and “to strive to uphold the rights of all.” [his] Peoples to observe their different religions and beliefs without fear of persecution”.

The unit acknowledges that there would not be enough time to make the necessary legislative changes surrounding the oaths for the king’s coronation, which is scheduled for May 6 next year.

But it says that not only must the current oaths be updated in time for Prince William’s accession to the throne on the death of his father, but that the government must make it clear before King Charles’ coronation that the oaths must be taken at the same time. altered. the lines of the ‘Midi’ version.

The Constitutional Unit recommends that such a declaration of intent, which reflects the position of King Charles himself, should also be included in the coronation souvenir program.

At a recent meeting with faith leaders, King Charles made it clear that he intends to protect the diversity of religion in Britain and “respect those who follow other spiritual paths, as well as those who want to live their lives in accordance with secular ideals.” .

Professor Hazell and Dr. Morris states: “[The] The government should prepare a statement to be made by the Prime Minister to Parliament explaining the context in which the oaths are to be understood today. It must be accompanied by extensive and carefully prepared background information for the media, and the ‘Approved Souvenir Programme’ for the coronation must contain a reference to the contents of the Prime Minister’s statement.”

The report of the Constitutional Unit was published this month on the occasion of King Charles’ accession to the throne following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

The report follows calls from academics and constitutional experts to make the coronation a shorter, more modern affair than Queen Elizabeth’s, with less of the pomp and circumstance associated with it, while still acting as a showcase for the monarchy and the ‘soft’ power’ of Great Britain throughout the rest of the world.

Catherine Pepinster, author of Defenders of the Faith: the British Monarchy, Religion, and the next Coronation, said at a video seminar hosted by UCL: “There will really be less rumbling, the number of colleagues in attendance will be reduced immediately. There will certainly be more representatives of charities.”

She added: “This is a rare opportunity to see Britain on the map. This is the gentle power of the coronation itself and the attendant receptions that are to come.

“A government of Rishi Sunak – Britain’s first British Asian Hindu Prime Minister – will want to communicate what they think [Britain] is: Yes, a place of tradition, but also not a failed power that lives on its laurels – but a modern multi-ethnic multicultural country, forging a new post-Brexit post-Elizabethan role.”

Leave a Comment