Defender of faith King Charles' Crown to be Affirmed by Faith in Traditional Coronation Ceremony
King Charles III is set to be crowned on May 6 in an Anglican liturgy at Westminster Abbey, affirming his position as the supreme governor of the Church of England. The spiritual head of the Anglican Church, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, will conduct the coronation ceremony, including the anointing of the monarch's head, breast, and hands with oil in a moment of great solemnity.
While this is a significant moment in the ceremony, it will not be broadcast or photographed as it is considered the "Holy of Holies," similar to the biblical story of when Samuel anointed Saul as the king of the Israelites. Catherine Pepinster, former editor of the liberal Catholic magazine The Tablet and author of Defenders of the Faith: the British Monarchy, Religion, and the Coronation, explains that this is the moment when the monarch receives a blessing.
In a notable change, members of other faiths, including Muslims, Hindus, Jews, and Sikhs who are practicing members of their respective faiths, will carry the essential elements for the coronation, such as the robe, glove, ring, and ornamental bracelet, into Westminster Abbey.
The Archbishop of Canterbury assured that the church has taken great care to respect the beliefs of other faiths and Christians alike, emphasizing that the multi-faith theme of the ceremony will be maintained.
As part of the official Liturgy for the religious ceremony, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, the first Prime Minister of Indian heritage, will read from the biblical book of Colossians, aligning with the recent tradition of British Prime Ministers giving readings at state occasions.
Lambeth Palace, the office of the Archbishop of Canterbury, explained that the chosen passage reflects the theme of service to others and the loving rule of Christ over all people and all things, which are central to the coronation liturgy. This will be the first time members of other faith traditions will play an active role in the service.