King tells religious leaders he has a personal “duty to protect the diversity of our country” | King Charles III

The king has said he has a personal “duty to protect the diversity of our country” in a speech to more than 30 religious leaders at a reception at Buckingham Palace.

Charles, who is now supreme governor of the Church of England, said that as sovereign he believed his work must include “protecting the space for the faith itself” and the valued differences that people live by.

He reaffirmed his “determination to carry out my responsibility as sovereign over all communities around 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 relating to the settlement with the Church of England. On my accession I have already solemnly given – like all sovereigns of the last 300 years – an oath promising to maintain and preserve the Protestant faith in Scotland.

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

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

“As a member of the Church of England, my Christian faith has love at its heart. By my deepest convictions, as well as by my position as sovereign, I remain bound to respect those who follow other spiritual paths, as well as those who seek to live their lives in accordance with secular ideals.”

The king, who was named “defender of the faith” by the Accession Council last Saturday, said: “The faiths that flourish in and contribute to our richly diverse society are diverse.

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

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

“This conviction was the foundation of everything my beloved mother did for our country, throughout her years as our Queen. It has been 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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