Prince's rejection of Church role is denied

REPORTS that the Prince of Wales intends to end the monarch's role as head of the Church of England should be treated with 'extreme caution', according to Buckingham Palace. Officials yesterday denied the Prince wanted to disestablish the Anglican Church so that, as King, he would be seen to treat all religions equally.

In a television documentary on Wednesday, Prince Charles is understood to say: 'I happen to believe that the Catholic subjects of the sovereign are as important (as Protestants), not to mention the Islamic, Hindu and Zoroastrian.' Officials say this does not amount to an intention to cut the tie between Crown and Church.

However, the Prince also says says he would be happy to be considered 'Defender of Faith' rather than 'Defender of the Faith'.

Historians point out that the Windsors' legal claim to the throne rests on their allegiance to the Protestant religion. Under the Act of Settlement of 1701, the British monarch must be a member of the Church of England.

Lambeth Palace said the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey, would not be drawn into the debate before the programme was shown. However, the Bishop of Durham welcomed the renewed debate on the link between the state and the Church 'when it is clear that you cannot claim that this is a Christian country'.

One senior Anglican source said: 'In so far as the Prince may be saying something about being seen as a king equally to people of all faiths, obviously it is relevant that the Church of England sees its role as the established church not as being there to promote the Church of England but to hold in trust the spiritual and religious dimension of national life.'

There is some speculation that the Princess of Wales intends to become a Catholic. This would mean Prince Charles would be forced to relinquish his right to the throne because no monarch can be married to a Catholic. The Sunday Times reported the Prince as telling unnamed friends that this law was 'absurd'.

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Habgood, suggested last winter that the wording of the Coronation oath might be changed to reflect the more multi-cultural nature of Britain compared to in 1952 when the oath was last used. But the Church appears to have moved away from this.

Simon Hughes, Liberal Democrat spokesman on Church of England matters, said: 'The only logical constitutional position for future centuries is that the monarch should cease to be the head of the Church of England.'

The Queen Mother, patron of the Bomber Command Association, has written to Channel 4 to express concern felt by members over a documentary about Sir Arthur 'Bomber' Harris being shown on 7 August. The letter says she does not want to intervene but wants to draw attention to the concern. Members who have seen the documentary claim it implies Canadian aircrew were used as 'cannon-fodder' by Sir Arthur.

Leading article, page 13

The multi-faith prince, page 14

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
Keith Fraser says we should give Isis sympathises free flights to join Isis (AFP)
news
Life and Style
Google celebrates the 126th anniversary of the Eiffel Tower opening its doors to the public for the first time
techGoogle celebrates Paris's iconic landmark, which opened to the public 126 years ago today
News
Cleopatra the tortoise suffers from a painful disease that causes her shell to disintegrate; her new prosthetic one has been custom-made for her using 3D printing technology
newsCleopatra had been suffering from 'pyramiding'
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Coachella and Lollapalooza festivals have both listed the selfie stick devices as “prohibited items”
music
Sport
Nigel Owens was targeted on Twitter because of his sexuality during the Six Nations finale between England and France earlier this month
rugbyReferee Nigel Owens on coming out, and homophobic Twitter abuse
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Web Designer / Front End Developer

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast expanding web managem...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor