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Multi-faith leaders to feature in coronation ceremony for the first time in history

by Kelly Valencia

Leaders from the nation’s main faith communities will feature in King Charles’ coronation for the first time in history.

Lambeth Palace has confirmed representatives from the Jewish, Hindu, Sikh, Muslim and Buddhist groups will take part in the ceremony in two occasions.

The decision to incorporate them derives from King Charles’ desire to “recognise and celebrate” their contribution to modern Britain.  

The faith leaders will deliver a greeting to the King in unison, which he will acknowledge, at the close of the service before His Majesty proceeds to the Gold State Coach.

Sikh, Hindu, Muslim and Jewish peers will also be among those who deliver the Regalia to King Charles, handing over items which have no Christian meaning nor symbolism.

Speaking ahead of the coronation, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who will lead the ceremony, said the service is “first and foremost an act of Christian worship" and described the new elements as a reflection of “the diversity of our contemporary society”.

Most Rev Justin Welby said: “The Coronation is first and foremost an act of Christian worship.

"The signs, symbols and language we use remind us that our God is the Servant King. By his anointing in this service, His Majesty King Charles III is set apart to fulfil his vocation of service and duty to us all.

"This is the character of kingship today. In this weighty responsibility, the King will be supported by the loyal service of his wife, Queen Camilla.

"I am delighted that the service will recognise and celebrate tradition, speaking to the great history of our nation, our customs, and those who came before us. At the same time, the service contains new elements that reflect the diversity of our contemporary society.

"It is my prayer that all who share in this service, whether they are of faith or no faith, will find ancient wisdom and new hope that brings inspiration and joy."

There had been speculation over the involvement of leaders from other faith groups in Britain in the coronation service as under Canon law, no other faiths can be allowed to read Christian prayers during the service.

However, a Lambeth Palace spokesperson has confirmed the faith leaders’ unison greeting will take place after the final blessing and “therefore outside of the religious service” but “still part of the formal ceremonial proceedings”.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who is from the Hindu faith, will read a Bible passage taken from Colossians during the ceremony. When asked about this, a spokesperson from Lambeth Palace said: "It's standard practice for civic leaders on every level to give readings in Church of England churches. In this case, the Prime Minister is reading as Prime Minister, and there is no issue about his personal faith in doing so. We are delighted that he is participating."

King Charles III’s coronation will take place on 6th May.


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