12 February 2015, The Tablet

Charles clarifies Church of England role, saying he will be “Defender of the Faith”

THE PRINCE of Wales said this week that he will take on the role of “Defender of the Faith”, which he envisages as being the protector of all faiths, writes Joanna Moorhead.

In an interview given to the Sunday Hour on BBC Radio 2 Prince Charles quoted a speech the Queen made at the time of her Golden Jubilee in 2002 to faith leaders, in which she said that the monarch’s role as Supreme Governor of the Church of England was not to defend Anglicanism to the exclusion of other religions, but rather to protect the free practice of all faiths in the United Kingdom. He said this was the thought he also wanted to convey.

Being Defender of the Faith, said the prince, who is heir to the throne, was about “ensuring that other people’s faiths can also be practised … each person of any faith is also part of the whole”.

The Prince of Wales said in an interview in 1994 that he would be defender of faith rather than Defender of the Faith. There has been a suggestion that he would alter the coronation service in order to reflect this. But in this latest interview he admitted that he had not conveyed his point of view “very well all those years ago”. The title Defender of the Faith was originally given by Pope Leo X to King Henry VIII. After Henry broke with Rome, an act was passed in Parliament conferring the title Defender of the Faith on Henry and his successors.

  Loading ...
Get Instant Access
Subscribe to The Tablet for just £7.99

Subscribe today to take advantage of our introductory offers and enjoy 30 days' access for just £7.99