Multi-faith ceremony in Charles coronation?
London, Oct 26: Prince Charles has told courtiers that he wants a separate coronation service involving Muslims, Jews and Buddhists to show he represents people of all religions.
This means that the Prince will effectively be crowned twice, according to a report in Daily Express.
The first ceremony will be a Christian coronation in Westminster Abbey in which he will be made King ''by the grace of God''. The second service will be in Westminster Hall.
According to the report the Prince had become even more determined to get his way, following the controversies over Muslim veils and Christian crosses in recent weeks, a royal courtier said.
''As sovereign, he will wish to demonstrate that he can set an example for the entire country to follow,'' the courtier said.
The report also claims that the Prince is insisting his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, should become Queen when he becomes King.
But Conservative MP Philip Davies warned that the Prince was ''playing a dangerous game''.
''This country is a Christian country. It's our heritage and we should defend it,'' he said.
''This pandering to other religions does not impress me. I don't think it impresses people of other faiths either. They might respect our religion more if we respected it in the way they respect theirs.'' ''The Prince is playing a dangerous game. Once you start chipping away at important parts of our heritage like the coronation, what's to stop other parts being done away with?'' ''It could return to bite him and he could find the Royal Family is the next target.'' Last night, a leading member of the Church of England branded the Prince's suggestion, which appears in an article in The Spectator magazine, as ''total hypocrisy''. Alison Ruoff, who serves on the General Synod, the Church's parliament, said the Prince could not go ahead with a multi-faith ceremony as this would compromise entirely the Westminster Abbey coronation.
''I cannot see how Prince Charles could do this. Multi-faith and the Christian faith do not go together,'' she said.
''As part of the coronation ceremony he has to take an oath to be 'Defender Of The Faith', so if he misses this out I cannot see how he could become King.'' ''He cannot sit with one foot in both camps. The other important thing is that he will be the supreme governor of the Church of England.'' ''That does not work in my way of thinking. He cannot be 'Defender Of Faiths' because other faiths are in complete opposition to the Christian faith.'' ''I suppose he could have some kind of ceremony where he could say he will be the people's King but he cannot include their faiths because he would be a Christian King.'' ''Prince Charles cannot start rewriting the constitution on a whim to include other faiths because the job description is that he is a Christian, so he cannot then say that he is also the Defender Of Islam, for example, which is diametrically opposed to Christianity,'' Stephen Green, national director of Christian Voice, said.
''The whole constitution could unravel if people start messing around with the coronation service. It is so explicitly Christian and ingrained into British life.'' At some stage Prince Charles will be given the orb and Crown Jewels under a cross and told to remember that the whole Earth is subject to the power and empire of Christ Our Redeemer.
''How that squares with an accommodation for Islam or Buddhism I do no know. You simply cannot adopt a smorgasbord view to faiths as Prince Charles seemingly does.'' But Labour MP Chris Bryant, a former Church of England priest, said, ''It would be inconceivable if the next coronation looked like the last one we had in 1953.'' ''It would look like ancient mumbo-jumbo and do the Church of England no great service. But I do not think it should be some flunkey in Clarence House who draws plans for the service. It should involve a wider group of people including MPs.'' The report claims that the Prince is understood to want the ceremony to take place in Westminster Hall, the most ancient part of the Palace of Westminster which has been used for coronations since the twelfth century. It would not take place immediately following the coronation proper but would follow at a 'later date'.
Prince Charles is also understood to be demanding Camilla be made his queen, rather than his consort according to the constitution.
''The Prince of Wales is not, and has not been, involved in any discussions or planning for the next coronation,'' a spokesman for Clarence House said.