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King Charles III’s coronation will be a Christian ‘call to serve’ while including multifaith leaders

King Charles III, accompanied by other members of the royal family, hosts a pre-coronation lunch for the Commonwealth nations at Buckingham Palace. Photo/Ian Jones

By Shireen Korkzan

Episcopal News Service

Millions of people of various faiths are anticipated to watch King Charles III’s coronation on May 6, nearly six months after his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, died at the age of 96. While many traditions and Anglican rituals will remain the same, Charles’ coronation will have significant differences, among them being the inclusion of non-Christian faith leaders to deliver a greeting to the king at the end of the ceremony.

“I think [multifaith representation at the coronation] is great because it reflects a modern Britain,” said the Rev. Clarke French, interim rector of St. Peter’s Church in Philadelphia. “It’s pretty representative of the fact that Britain and the Commonwealths around the world are in fact very multifaith environments and that people of different faiths contribute to society.”

The non-Christian faith leaders will represent Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism, serving as a reflection of the Commonwealth of Nations’ diversity. Orthodox Christian and Roman Catholic leaders will also be in attendance; Charles’ coronation will be the first one Catholic prelates will participate in since the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century.

Pope Francis gave Charles two relics of the True Cross from the Vatican Museums as an “ecumenical gesture.” The relics will be integrated into the new Cross of Wales that will be carried ahead of the coronation procession.

Charles’ coronation will also be the first where female clergy will participate.

The Rev. David Peters, vicar of St. Joan of Arc Episcopal Church in Pflugerville, Texas, said he’s going to pay attention to the way clergy will operate at the coronation when he watches the ceremony, which will be broadcast live on multiple news stations and streaming channels starting at 6 a.m. EDT, with coverage starting at 5 a.m.

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