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Charles to keep the faith

Prince Charles' coronation may incorporate faiths other than Christianity in a break with tradition, writes Vijay Dutt.

india Updated: Sep 25, 2006 19:03 IST
Vijay Dutt

The coronation of Britain’s Prince Charles could incorporate faiths other than Christianity in a break with tradition, a senior Church of England official set to be involved in drawing up plans told The Sunday Telegraph.

Prayers and readings from other religions, including the Muslim, Sikh and Jewish faiths, are expected to be included in the ceremonies marking his accession to the throne, the paper said.

Charles’s interest in various faiths is well-known. Besides being closely associated with Islamic studies, he has also visited gurudwaras and temples in the UK many times. And following the July 7, 2005, bombings, the prince emerged as a key figure in bridging the divide between Islam and the West.

As far back as 1994, Charles had said he would like to be “defender of faith”, not “defender of the faith”, namely Christianity, which is traditionally one of the British monarch’s titles.

Agreeing in principle to Prince’s desire, F. Canon John Hall, the Dean-elect of Westminster Abbey, said the traditional Church of England coronation service must be revised to reflect changes in society since the Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953.

Hall told the Telegraph: “The Church must be prepared to let other faiths play a role in the service.”

Ramesh Kalliodai, secretary general of the Hindu forum of Britain, an umbrella body of over 200 Hindu groups, said he thought the idea was “excellent”.

But Alison Ruoff, a member of the General Synod, the church’s parliament, said: “We should not pander to political correctness... This is a Christian country and the coronation service must remain exclusively Christian and we should not apologise for that.”