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Church of England changes wording of public declaration in King Charles III’s coronation, following backlash

<i>Daniel Leal/AFP/Getty Images</i><br/>The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby poses with the Coronation Bible
AFP via Getty Images
Daniel Leal/AFP/Getty Images
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby poses with the Coronation Bible

By Florence Davey-Attlee, Max Foster and Richard Quest, CNN

The Church of England has changed the wording of its invitation to the public to pledge allegiance to King Charles during his coronation, following a public backlash.

In a break with coronation tradition, British and Commonwealth citizens around the globe had initially been invited to recite a pledge of allegiance to the new monarch and his “heirs and successors.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury, who authorized the new liturgy, presented the plans to involve the public in the ceremony as a democratic initiative.

But, following public criticism, the archbishop will now give people the option of saying just “God save King Charles,” rather than making the full pledge of allegiance.

According to a revised text of the liturgy for the coronation service, published Saturday by Lambeth Palace, the archbishop will say: “I now invite those who wish to offer their support to do so, with a moment of private reflection, by joining in saying ‘God save King Charles’ at the end, or, for those with the words before them, to recite them in full.”

The full pledge reads: “I swear that I will pay true allegiance to Your Majesty, and to your heirs and successors according to law. So help me God.”

In a previous version of the text, published in April, the archbishop was to “call upon all persons of goodwill in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and of the other realms and the territories to make their homage, in heart and voice, to their undoubted king, defender of all.”

The earlier version had been described as “ill-advised” by Jonathan Dimbleby, a veteran broadcaster and prominent friend of the King.

“I can think of nothing that he would find more abhorrent. He’s never wanted to be revered. He’s never wanted, so far as I know, to have anyone pay homage to him except in mock terms as a joke,” Dimbleby told BBC Radio 4’s “Today” program on Friday.

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