The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rt Revd Justin Welby, has confirmed that the coronation ceremony for the King will be inclusive of all faiths. He emphasized that the ceremony would be “deeply representative” of the nation and that non-Christian faith leaders would have a part to play in the ancient Christian rite.
In recent comments that questioned the late release of the order of coronation service, Archbishop Justin Welby had denied any arguments with the King over inclusion of faith leaders from other religions.
Welby’s comments come in response to reports that there has been tension between the Church of England and the monarchy over the inclusion of non-Christian faith leaders in the ceremony. However, the Archbishop denied any such tension, stating that there had been “none whatsoever” and “absolutely not” in his conversation with the monarch.
The Archbishop further referenced the coronation of the late Queen Elizabeth 70 years ago. He said: “What there is, is a deep sense of both of celebrating our tradition but also reflecting the fact that we’re infinitely more diverse than we were in 1953. This is not 1953.”
The coronation ceremony is a highly significant event in the British calendar, steeped in tradition and symbolism. The ceremony, which dates back to the 10th century, involves anointing the monarch with holy oil and presenting them with a crown and other regalia. It is traditionally presided over by the Archbishop of Canterbury, who represents the Church of England.
According to the guide by Westminster Abbey, “The Archbishop of Canterbury has the duty of preparing the order of service and to him alone belongs the right of officiating at it and of crowning the Sovereign and the Queen Consort”.
“The Dean of Westminster, as successor to the medieval abbots of Westminster, has the right to instruct the Sovereign in all matters relating to the ceremony”, it continues, “and to assist the Archbishop at the anointing.”
Welby’s announcement that the ceremony will be inclusive of all faiths marks a departure from tradition. In recent years, there has been increasing recognition of the diverse religious landscape in the UK, with greater efforts made to include people of all faiths in public events.
However, some traditionalists have expressed concern that the inclusion of non-Christian faith leaders could dilute the Christian significance of the ceremony.
The event, which is expected to take place in May, will undoubtedly be watched by millions around the world, and its inclusivity could set an important precedent for future public events.