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Traditional coronation ceremony could see major changes

… with Church of England playing a less prominent role.

The time-old coronation ceremony of monarchs could be set to change, following the publication of an inquiry into modern religious observance.

A report from the Commision on Religion and Belief in British Public Life has recommended the ceremony should encompass the diverse range of faiths in a “pluralist” manner, with the Church of England playing a less prominent role.

The next coronation, expected to be that of Prince Charles, will come at a time of increasingly varied religious views and beliefs. The report, published after a two-year inquiry, says the amount of people identifing as ‘non-religious’ extends to almost half the population. It will be welcome news for the Prince of Wales who has previously said he would like a more diverse representation of beliefs when becomes King.

Charles, who is set to become Supreme Governor of the Church of England on his accession, has spoken of his desire to be “defender of faiths” as opposed to focusing on the singular religious belief. This latest report raises questions over whether he would be able to maintain such a holistic viewpoint as the head of the Church.

Baroness Butler-Sloss, chairwoman of the inquiry, has said that religion and belief still plays a major part in “our daily lives”, saying the report’s findings and recommendations are “intended to provide space and a role for all within society, regardless of their beliefs or a sense of them.”

Other recommendations of the report include the scrapping of Christian assemblies for schoolchildren and appointing more religious leaders of alternative beliefs to the House of Lords, which is currently dominated by Anglican bishops.

The Royal Family has been Anglican in its beliefs for many years although senior royals, including The Queen, are aware of the increasing diversity of religion in the UK and undertake numerous engagements focuses on the work of various faiths in communities, both in Britain and on their overseas tours.

The report’s findings come almost two weeks after The Queen opened the Church of England’s 10th General Synod, saying the Church “will have to grapple with difficult issues”.

At the last coronation, Her Majesty’s in 1953, the proceedings followed a format largely unchanged in thousands of years. The monarch is presented to, and acclaimed by, the people before swearing an oath to the Church and being annoited with oil – usually all done by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Plans for Prince Charles’s coronation will have already been drawn up, especially as he begins to take on more engagements as The Queen reduces her workload. Final plans will not however, be publicly released until he is King.

  • I dont beleieve that there is any reason to make any changes to this most important ceremony. UK carefully keeps many old traditions and it is probably major advantage of the UK to another states.

  • Seriously you’re going to mess with coronation ceremony to be PC now? Isn’t the whole point of the Monarchy these days to be traditional?

  • a French Chef

    The mystical portions of the Sovereign’s relationship with God and the people is to important and delicate to allow the nonsensical flapping winds of contemporary fashion to dictate anything. The powers that were charged with preserving the character of the nation have failed miserably to their eternal shame. Don’t surrender the Sovereign without a great battle, it is a part of the soul of the country.

  • DPJ

    The CoE is beginning to look more and more like The Episcopal Church USA. The idea of having a more modern, pluralist manner is sick. What makes England great is the hundreds of years of tradition. I wish we had that kind of tradition here in America. Parliament can be the “defender of the faiths”, but the Monarch should be the “defender of The Faith”.

  • Ken Kenworth

    Keep the medieval ceremony as it is. People need to be reminded that monarchy is a sexist, racist and religionist institution that bestows a select individual with obscene privilege as a birth right.

    • Alan Richards

      As opposed to the self serving and despotic politicians who are gradually ruining this country I suppose. Restore absolute monarchy, the Queen in council certainly couldn’t do any worse

  • Riley

    If we take the statement that half of the British people are non-religious to its logical conclusion, then there shouldn’t even be a Coronation ceremony upon Prince Charles’ accession but a secular inauguration ceremony such as those held in Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and Luxembourg. A half-hearted feel-good service won’t do anyone any good. If you start tampering with the religious nature of it, soon enough the crown won’t actually be put on his head and there will be interpretive dance and pop stars and it will be a right PC mess – all in the name of being “inclusive”. The strength of the Coronation is that it hasn’t been changed for thousands of years. It should be kept as it is. Anyone unhappy with it should simply not attend or watch it on TV.

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