LONDON (Reuters) – The coronation of King Charles will seek to blend the ancient ritual of a ceremony that dates back for almost 1,000 years with the modern, more diverse face of Britain and its many faiths, the Order of Service makes clear.
Watched by about 100 heads of state and dignitaries, Charles will be crowned on Saturday at Westminster Abbey, which has staged all coronations since William the Conqueror back in 1066.
The Order of Service says the rite of coronation has been modified through the centuries, adapting to changing needs, and Charles’ ceremony will for the first time include a procession of faith leaders and the involvement of those who “reflect the diversity of the United Kingdom and its peoples, in striking contrast to seventy years ago”.
Charles, who as monarch is the supreme governor of the Church of England and has the title “Defender of the Faith”, has long argued that he wishes to be a defender of all religions and has often spoken of his commitment to Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Sikhism and others.
According to the Order of Service, the king will pray for the first time at a Coronation “publicly for grace to be ‘a blessing to all … of every faith and belief’.”
It also notes that those presenting the historic regalia to the king, including sceptres and maces, a ring and a spoon, will “reflect the diversity of the United Kingdom and its peoples, in striking contrast to seventy years ago”.
The king’s love of nature will also be reflected in the clothing of his wife, Queen Camilla, who will also be crowned. Her robe will feature bees, a beetle and a number of plants.
(Reporting by Kate Holton)