In an article printed on Daily Mail, King Charles has reportedly been in a dispute with Church leaders over the extent to which non-Christian faiths should participate in his upcoming Coronation ceremony. The monarch’s desire for a diverse ceremony is said to have clashed with centuries-old canon law, which bars Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, and other faith leaders from reading prayers during the service. Religious affairs commentator Catherine Pepinster claims that this disagreement has delayed the release of the Coronation’s Order of Service, though Buckingham Palace has denied any such delay.
Charles famously declared his wish to be “Defender of Faith” rather than simply “Defender of the Faith” nearly thirty years ago. It is expected that the Coronation will be more religiously and culturally diverse than the late Queen’s 1953 service. However, Church leaders are reportedly resisting a more active role for other faith leaders given that the event is Anglican in nature and a constitutional affair.
A compromise option is being considered, which would entail the King holding a separate ceremony where other faith leaders would play an active role. Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell have both stated that the Coronation “at its centre is a Christian service… rooted in long-standing tradition and Christian symbolism.” Archbishop Welby is reportedly giving the King “religious guidance” on the significance of his oath, the commitments he will make to his subjects, and the Christian symbolism of the regalia.
A meeting held at Lambeth Palace last month heard that the drafting of the order of service was conducted with “scrupulous regard” for the opinions of Anglican clergy. The current aim is to publish it “before Easter, with suitable guidance for the clergy.” Statements were issued by Lambeth Palace on behalf of the Archbishop of Canterbury and Buckingham Palace, saying that “Details about the Coronation service will be released in due course.” The tensions between the King and Church leaders over the ceremony’s composition have highlighted broader debates about the role of the Church of England and the country’s changing religious landscape.