King tells religious leaders he has personal ‘duty to protect our country’s diversity’ | King Charles III

The King said he has a personal “duty to protect the diversity of our country” in a speech to more than 30 faith leaders from various faiths at a reception at Buckingham Palace.

Charles, who is now the supreme ruler of the Church of England, said that as sovereign he believed his work should include “protecting the space for the faith itself” and the precious differences with which people live.

He reaffirmed “his determination to carry out my responsibilities as sovereign of all communities in this country and the Commonwealth and in a way that reflects the world we now live in”.

He said: “I am a committed Anglican Christian and at my coronation I will take an oath about the settlement of the Church of England. On my accession, I have already formally taken – like every sovereign for the past 300 years – an oath committing to maintain and preserve the Protestant faith in Scotland.

“I have always thought of Britain as a ‘community of communities’. This led me to understand that the sovereign has an additional duty – less officially recognized but no less diligently performed.”

He added: “It is our duty to protect the diversity of our country, including protecting the space of faith itself and its practice through the religions, cultures, traditions and beliefs to which our hearts and minds direct us as individuals. This diversity is not just enshrined in the laws of our country, it is mandated by my own faith.

“As a member of the Church of England, my Christian beliefs have love at their heart. In my deepest convictions, therefore – as well as from my position as a sovereign – I consider myself bound to respect those who follow other spiritual paths, as well as those who seek to live their lives according to secular ideals.”

The King, who was named ‘defender of the faith’ by the accession council last Saturday, said: ‘The beliefs that flourish and contribute to our richly diverse society are different.

“They and our society can only thrive through a clear collective commitment to those vital principles of freedom of conscience, generosity of spirit and care for others which are, to me, the essence of our nationhood.

“I am determined, as King, to uphold and promote these principles in all communities and for all faiths, with all my heart.

“This belief was the foundation of everything my dear mother did for our country during her years as our Queen. It was the foundation of my own work as Prince of Wales. It will continue to be the foundation of all my work as King.”

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