Coronation: Consecration or Contradictions?
A coronation is coming. I am sure you noticed. Perhaps you have been eagerly anticipating this moment of pageantry, eager to celebrate tradition, to express national pride and to wish King Charles a long and happy reign. Alternatively, you may be bemoaning the event as a waste of money and the monarchy as an outdated institution. Or maybe you are disinterested in the coronation but glad to have an extra bank holiday. Whatever your thoughts, the event can hardly be ignored. So, what are Christians to make of it?
Major UK state occasions involving the royal family often have a Christian element, from funerals and weddings to the monarch’s Christmas speech and Remembrance Sunday. But the coronation tops them all in its Christian symbolism and content. The last coronation in the UK was in 1953, when with respect for and deference to institutions was much greater and rates of Christian faith and practice were much higher. A coronation laden with Christian significance seemed fitting then and it also seemed appropriate for Queen Elizabeth II, who was widely acknowledged to have a personal faith in the Lord Jesus and who saw her coronation as a point of dedication to serve him and her people. But what about the coronation of her son, King Charles III, in these different times?
To answer that question, we must take a close look at the content of the coronation service. The Church of England has issued several documents and resources in relation to the coronation, including the liturgy for the service, which outlines word-for-word what will be said and sung, and an accompanying commentary. Both the liturgy and commentary were commissioned and approved by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.
At the heart of the liturgy is the Coronation Oath, in which Charles will solemnly promise to:
govern the peoples of his realms according to their respective laws and customs;
execute law and justice in all his judgements; and
“maintain the Laws of God and the true profession of the Gospel” and to maintain in the UK “the Protestant Reformed Religion established by law,” specifically maintaining the settlement of the Church of England with its doctrine, worship, discipline and government.
An oath made by the monarch has always been part of the coronation and the current wording remains largely unchanged since the form approved by parliament for the joint coronation of William III and his wife Mary II in 1689. The central aims of the Oath are to establish the constitutional supremacy of parliament and its laws over the monarch and to protect the Protestant Church of England.
It is traditional for a new liturgy to be produced for each coronation, with elements deemed suitable to the new monarch and the Church surrounding the Coronation Oath. In this instance, the commentary gives unprecedented insights into the Archbishop’s reasons for innovative elements of the ceremony.
In what follows I will make some comments on the central act of the coronation service – the anointing with oil – before comparing the 2023 liturgy with that used in the 1953 ceremony, highlighting omissions and additions. I will then consider the significance of these changes in relation to the beliefs held by King Charles.
Anointing With Oil
The most solemn part of the service is the anointing of the monarch with special chrism oil. It is also the only part of the service that will be private, taking place behind a screen away from the view of cameras and congregation. The oil used for King Charles will contain olive oil made from olives grown on the Mount of Olives scented with a mix of essential oils, sesame, rose, jasmine, cinnamon, neroli, benzoin and orange blossom. It was consecrated in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, where tradition says Jesus was buried and rose again.
The act of anointing is based on the practice, recorded in the Old Testament, of anointing kings in Israel. The liturgy explains:
Be your hands anointed with holy oil.
Be your breast anointed with holy oil.
Be your head anointed with holy oil,
as kings, priests, and prophets were anointed.
And as Solomon was anointed king by Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet, so may you be anointed, blessed, and consecrated King over the peoples, whom the Lord your God has given you to rule and govern
According to this wording, Charles will be consecrated - set apart for the task of kingship. The liturgy also links the anointing with oil to God’s gift of the Holy Spirit. The Archbishop will pray:
Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who by his Father was anointed with the Oil of gladness above his fellows, by his holy Anointing pour down upon your Head and Heart the blessing of the Holy Spirit, and prosper the works of your Hands
The act of anointing ‘Christian monarchs’ has a long history in Europe, having developed in a period, generally referred to as Christendom, when nations were thought of as Christian nations. Europe, including the UK, can now be described post-Christian, meaning that Christianity no longer is no longer central to national life and the majority of people no longer hold to Christian beliefs and values (even if many still accept the label ‘Christian).
The situation is complicated, however, by the fact that two of the four countries that constitute the UK still have established churches, meaning denominations that have a formal relationship with the state. In England, the Church of England, which has an episcopal structure, has the monarch as its supreme governor, some of its bishops have seats in the House of Lords, and its laws are subject to the Westminster Parliament. The Church of Scotland, which has a presbyterian structure, is the national church in Scotland, but the monarch is merely an ordinary member and it is entirely self-governing. The Anglican church was formerly established in both Wales and Ireland, but the Church of Ireland was disestablished in 1869 and the Church in Wales in 1914. The coronation service and the anointing of oil therefore have greater significance for England than for the other parts of the UK.
The attitudes of Christians to the anointing will vary depending on their convictions about the relationship between church and state. Some possibilities are:
Some Christians may accept the idea that a state can be ‘Christian’ and believe that rulers who profess to be Christian should acknowledge their subjection to God. Some will also believe that acts like anointing with oil can confer special grace on people – they may think of this as a special anointing by the Holy Spirit for service or as the gift of strength and wisdom to fulfil a God-given task. Those who hold this view may regard the coronation service, and especially the anointing with oil, as a sacred moment of great significance for the king and the nation.
Some Christians believe in principle that the Church and State should be separate and that a state can never truly be described as ‘Christian’. They will reject the idea that a monarch can be likened to Israel’s kings or that a direct line can be drawn between a person’s recognition as holding power in this world with that power being legitimised by God. They may also insist that the special anointing of a limited number of God’s people by the Holy Spirit is an Old Testament concept, whereas the New Testament speaks of all believers in the Lord Jesus being indwelt and empowered by the Spirit. Those who hold this view are likely to struggle with the coronation service in principle.
Many Christians will not fit neatly into either of these categories. They may think that the anointing does not confer grace and have some reservations about the relationship between the Church and a state that is increasingly secular, but they may still welcome the idea of a person with influence, even if lacking formal power, recognising God’s sovereignty.
The rights and wrongs of these positions are beyond the scope of this article and each Christian should reach his or her own conclusions based on reading Scripture.
Comparison With 1953 – Omissions
Some elements and words that featured in the 1953 service will not be in the 2023 service, including:
The Litany – in 1953, the Litany was sung as Dean, the Prebendaries and the choir of Westminster proceeded from the altar to the west door of Westminster Abbey. It appears to absent from the 2023 order of service, which gives no detail of what, if anything, will be sung during the procession. The Litany is a preparatory prayer in which people ask for God to “have mercy upon us miserable sinners” and to deliver them from sins of various kinds.
The Creed – the Creed, which is an ancient statement of core Christian beliefs, will not be sung in the Beginning of the Communion Service as it was in 1953.
Confession and repentance – the Communion liturgy used in 1953, which was based on the Book of Common Prayer (originally produced under the guidance of Thomas Cranmer in the seventeenth century) included the following Exhortation:
Ye that do truly and earnestly repent you of your sins, and are in love and charity with your neighbours, and intend to lead a new life, following the commandments of God, and walking from henceforth in his holy ways […] Draw near with faith, and take this holy Sacrament to your comfort; and make your humble confession to Almighty God, meekly kneeling upon your knees.
This call was followed by The General Confession, which says:
We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, which we from time to time most grievously have committed, by thought, word, and deed, against thy Divine Majesty, provoking most justly thy wrath and indignation against us. We do earnestly repent, and are heartily sorry for these our misdoings; the remembrance of them is grievous unto us; the burden of them is intolerable.
The Communion liturgy to be used in 2023 is based on Common Worship, which was produced in 2000. It contains no reference to the wrath of God and not using the words ‘repent’ or ‘repentance’.
Taken together, these omissions represent a significant reduction in the explicitly Christian nature of the ceremony and reduce the clarity of the gospel. The communion liturgy is still rich in its description of the provision Christ made for sins through his death, but the concepts of sin, judgement and repentance are not clearly present in this service.
Comparison With 1953 – Additions
Additions to King Charles’s coronation compared to his mother’s include:
A sermon – the Archbishop of Canterbury will deliver a sermon, the wording of which is not contained in the published liturgy. There was no sermon in the 1953 coronation, but it has been a feature of other coronations in the past.
Preface to the Coronation Oath – while the wording of this Oath is basically unchanged since 1953, it will be introduced with a new preface saying :
Your Majesty, the Church established by law, whose settlement you will swear to maintain, is committed to the true profession of the Gospel, and, in so doing, will seek to foster an environment in which people of all faiths and beliefs may live freely. The Coronation Oath has stood for centuries and is enshrined in law.
The Archbishop’s intention in adding this preface seems to be twofold:
(a) to explain that the Oath must be said because it is enshrined in law; and
(b) to assure people in the multi-faith society of the contemporary UK that the king’s commitment to maintaining the established Church of England does not conflict with freedom of religion and belief. Indeed, the preface commits the Church of England both to profess the Gospel truly and to ensure religious freedom. The commentary explains that this statement reflects words spoken by Queen Elizabeth II in 2012, when she said the role of the established Church was, “not to defend Anglicanism to the exclusion of other religions”, but to, “protect the free practice of all faiths in this country”.
The Accession Oath – after taking the Coronation Oath, Charles will swear that he is, “a faithful Protestant”, and will uphold the principle that only a Protestant can succeed to the throne. This oath was not included in the 1953 coronation because the Queen had already taken it at the State Opening of Parliament in 1952. Charles has not yet attended a State Opening as King, so he must make the oath during the coronation service.
Ecumenical Involvement – the anointing oil will be presented to the Archbishop of Canterbury by the Anglican Archbishop of Jerusalem, while the orb will be presented to him by the Anglican Archbishop of Armagh, thus including the Church of Ireland and the worldwide Anglican Communion in the service. In the Procession into the Abbey, the leaders of other faiths will be followed by ecumenical leaders, a new element the commentary says reflects, “the diversity and richness of the Christian church life in the UK today”. These leaders, among whom is the Roman Catholic Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, will each lead part of a blessing, reflecting, the commentary says, “The progress of ecumenical relations since 1953”.
Roles for People from other Faiths – the procession into the Abbey at the start of the service will include faith leaders and representatives from the Jewish, Sunni and Shia Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist, Hindu, Jain, Bahai and Zoroastrian communities. The commentary on the liturgy explains that, “This represents the multi-faith nature of our society and the importance of inclusion of other faiths whilst respecting the integrities of the different traditions”. These faith leaders will not participate in the service but, after its conclusion, Charles will greet them and they will say in unison, “Your Majesty, as neighbours in faith, we acknowledge the value of public service. We unite with people of all faiths and beliefs in thanksgiving, and in service with you for the common good”. The commentary expresses gratitude to the faith communities represented by these leaders “for exploring ways in which such an act of unity”.
Although the faith leaders will not participate in the service, adherents of religions other than Christianity will. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, a practising Hindu, will bring the reading from Colossians 1:9-17, which emphasises the supremacy of Christ over all. In 1953 this reading was by a clergyman, but the change has been justified on the basis that it has become an established norm in recent years for senior politicians to read at State occasions. Members of the House of Lords who adhere to Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and Sikhism will present some of the regalia to the Archbishop of Canterbury to give to the king, although the Church of England emphasises these are the items with “no Christian meaning or symbolism”.
Service is a more prominent theme – the service will begin with a new greeting to the king by a chorister from the Chapel Royal, saying, “Your Majesty, as children of the Kingdom of God we welcome you in the name of the King of Kings”. The king will respond, “In his name, and after his example, I come not to be served but to serve”. This new element is intended to set a tone for the whole ceremony that Charles will serve his people, an idea that is repeated numerous times in the liturgy, for example:
The choice of Colossians 1:9-17 as the reading from the epistles.
New words to be spoken when the Spurs are presented to the King: “Receive these spurs, symbols of honour and courage. May you be a brave advocate for those in need”.
Revised wording to accompany the presentation of the Sword – “for the terror and punishment of evildoers, and for the protection and encouragement of those that do well” (1953) has been replaced with “to resist evil and defend the good” (2023).
This emphasis on service is also clear in the Church of England’s coronation logo, which bears the tagline, “Celebrating community, faith and service”, and in its introduction to the liturgy, which says, “The Liturgy is focussed on the theme of loving service to others, which is central to Christian teaching, and to the character of contemporary Monarchy”. This emphasis on service continues the legacy of the late Queen, but it is made much more explicit in this coronation service.
The King will pray aloud – this new element is described in the commentary as, “possibly the first time in our history that such a personal prayer has been voiced so publicly by the Sovereign”. The prayer, composed specifically for Charles, again focuses on service, opening with the words, “God of compassion and mercy whose Son was sent not to be served but to serve” and asking for “grace that I may find in thy service perfect freedom and in that freedom knowledge of thy truth”. Its other major theme is a commitment to do good for all people of whatever religious belief. Charles will pray, “Grant that I may be a blessing to all thy children, of every faith and conviction, that together we may discover the ways of gentleness and be led into the paths of peace”. This seems to reflect a personal declaration by King Charles of his own faith convictions.
Languages other than English will be used – some parts of the service will be in other languages of the British Isles. A new version of the Kyrie eleison (Lord, have mercy) will be sung in Welsh and verses of the Veni Creator (Come Creator) will be sung in Welsh, Scots Gaelic and Irish Gaelic. The commentary explains that, “The use of languages from around the United Kingdom here is a beautiful way to acknowledge the rich heritage of our country and these communities, while demonstrating the importance of maintaining and preserving these languages”.
There will also be a sung version of Psalm 71 in Greek to reflect the fact that the king’s father, Prince Philip, was a Prince of Greece by birth.
Another element of the service, the Gloria will be in Latin rather than English (as it was in 1953). This seems to be the first time Latin has been used in a coronation service since the coronation of Queen Elizabeth I in 1559. Although she was a Protestant, the use of Latin was explained by the fact that her coronation was conducted by a Roman Catholic bishop. This is all the more interesting in view of the comment on the wording used in this Gloria in the Archbishop’s commentary: “This Gloria comes from a Mass setting originally composed for recusant Roman Catholics (those who refused to adopt the doctrine of the newly established Church of England after the Reformation)”. The commentary continues to explain that this wording has since come to be used in many Anglican cathedrals, but it is an interesting fact that the Archbishop has chosen to emphasise the adoption of something that was composed for Roman Catholics.
The oil will be blessed – in 1953, the Archbishop prayed for the Queen to be blessed and sanctified just before anointing her with oil. In the 2023 coronation service, the Archbishop will pray, “bless and sanctify this oil, that it may be for thy servant Charles a sign of joy and gladness”. This appears to strengthen the idea that the oil is sacred and the act of anointing confers a special blessing.
Women will have an increased role – a Lady of the Thistle and a Lady of the Garter (members of the oldest orders of chivalry in Scotland and England respectively) among three people to recognise Charles as the “undoubted King” after the Archbishop does so (in 1953, only the Archbishop was involved in this act that precedes the coronation Oath). Two female bishops (The Bishop of Chelmsford, Guli Francis-Dehqani, and the Bishop of Dover, Rose Hudson-Wilkin) will join the Archbishop of Canterbury in administering the Eucharist and the Bishop of London, Sarah Mullaly, will also participate in the service. The commentary on the liturgy also points out that, “This will be the first time that the Sword of State and Sword of Offering will be carried and presented by a woman”, since the current Lord President of the Council is Penny Mordaunt.
The people will be invited to swear allegiance – the homage of peers which traditionally follows the enthronement of the monarch (in which the senior peer in each rank of the peerage declared homage to the new monarch) has been replaced by an act of homage from the people. After Charles receives homage from the Archbishop of Canterbury on behalf of the Church of England and from William, Prince of Wales, the Archbishop will invite “all persons of goodwill of The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and of the other Realms and the Territories”, whether in the Abbey or watching at home, “to make their homage, in heart and voice, to their undoubted King, defender of all”.
The commentary anticipates, “a chorus of millions of voices enabled for the first time in history to participate in this solemn and joyful moment”. The words to be used are “I swear that I will pay true allegiance to Your Majesty, and to your heirs and successors according to law. So help me God”. After this will be a fanfare and the people will be expected to cry, “God save King Charles. Long live King Charles. May The King live for ever”. This addition has attracted more comment in the media than most others and has been defended by the Archbishop of Canterbury on the basis that it is merely an invitation and is entirely optional.
Serving up Contradictions - A Personal Comment
I welcome many of the changes in the ceremony, such as increased participation of women and people of varied ethnicities and the inclusion of languages other than English. These are not merely inevitable in the twenty-first century, they are also more reflective of the work of God in forming diverse people into the Church - a new humanity in Christ. I am also supportive of the ideas of servant leadership and of religious freedom, by which I mean the freedom of each person to choose his or her own religious beliefs and to practice them within the law and without harm to others or coercion of others. These are principles that emerge from the gospel. I like the idea in principle of the people of a nation being united in allegiance to it, even if I am uncomfortable with declaring allegiance to an individual.
At the same time, I have some concerns about the service. Fundamentally, I fear it is marked by contradictions. The Archbishop of Canterbury assures us that it is, “first and foremost an act of Christian worship”. Yet he also says, “It is my prayer that all who share in this service, whether they are of faith or no faith, will find ancient wisdom and new hope that brings inspiration and joy”. This is a wonderfully vague statement. Does the Archbishop hope the adherents of other faiths and none will find wisdom and hope in Christ – the only place where Scripture says they can be found? Does his decision to include leaders from other faiths and adherents of other religions not imply that there is no great difference between them and Christians? How can Rishi Sunak read Colossians 1, with its clear message of the uniqueness and supremacy of Jesus Christ, in good faith and how can the Archbishop be happy for him to read it if he does not believe? Why have important Christian elements – the Litany and the Creed – been removed? Why has clarity about the central gospel message of forgiveness for sins and deliverance from the wrath and judgement of God through repentance and faith in Christ alone been watered down?
It seems likely that these changes reflect, at least in part, a compromise between the Church and the monarch. In 1994, Charles said he wanted to be a “defender of faith” rather than of the Faith. He later explained, in 2015, that he did not intend in saying this that he would not have a specific role to play for the Church of England. It was reported in the weeks leading up to the coronation that there were tensions between King Charles and the Church over the degree to which people of other faiths could participate in the ceremony. These reports were denied by both Church and Palace, but I suggest that the liturgy has the air of an attempt to signal greater inclusivity around the edges of a basically Christian service. I suspect the diminished clarity about aspects of Christian belief has less to do with the wishes of the king and more to do with a general drift of the theology of senior clergy in the Church of England away from its historic biblical roots and a loss of boldness to declare to the world truths it may find unpalatable.
This ceremony will present and treat Charles as a true believer in the Lord Jesus. During it, Charles will take communion, surrounded by words that the commentary on the liturgy says are based on two sources: the second English language Communion Service written in the reign of Edward VI and the words of the New Testament. The commentary adds that the liturgy from the time of Edward, who was the strongly Protestant short-lived son of Henry VIII, has, “a strong emphasis on the salvation which was wrought for us by Christ in the cross”. Can Charles truly profess belief in these words by taking the bread and wine as an act of faith in Christ alone?
In his Accession Oath, Charles will declare himself to be “a faithful Protestant” and will pledge to uphold the principle that only a Protestant can succeed to the throne. He will also promise to, “maintain in the United Kingdom the Protestant Reformed Religion established by law”. The Eucharistic Prayer, meanwhile, calls him, “the Defender of thy Faith”. The link between the title ‘Defender of the Faith’ and the defence of Protestantism is somewhat ironic. The title was originally bestowed by Pope Leo X in 1521 on Henry VIII in appreciation for his book Defence of the Seven Sacraments, which opposed the teachings of Martin Luther. Pope Paul III revoked the title in 1530 when he excommunicated Henry for establishing himself as the head of the Church of England, but the Parliament of England again conferred it on Henry and his successors in relation to his role as supreme governor of the Church of England.
Notwithstanding this ironic history, I suppose Charles can legitimately both defend the Church of England and promote freedom of religion, as the Archbishop’s introduction to the Coronation Oath suggests. But, can Charles be called a true Protestant? Some might say that is a matter for his own conscience, but I suggest that it is not merely a private matter when an individual is the focus of a service conducted by a person claiming to represent the Church. Surely the Archbishop of Canterbury is endorsing Charles as a true Protestant by presiding in a service in which Charles will say these words and he will anoint him with oil and present him with insignias full of Christian symbolism. Charles has certainly said he has faith and that it is rooted in the Church of England. He also attends church services with some regularity. But what does he actually believe?
In this service, in the prayer that apparently reflects his own convictions, the king will call people of all faiths God’s children. This statement flatly contradicts Scripture and denies the gospel. The New Testament teaches that we become children of God through faith in Christ and Jesus even calls some religious people children of the Devil in John 8. It suggests that Charles’s desire to be a “defender of faith” indicates not merely a desire to preserve religious freedom, but a belief that all religions are pathways to God. That belief is in direct conflict with true Protestant belief, which is that salvation is found in Christ alone, through faith alone, on the basis of God’s grace alone, as revealed in Scripture alone, for the glory of God alone. These five ‘solas’ – Latin for ‘alone’ – are the core principles of the Protestant Reformed faith. If Charles is a true Protestant he must believe these things. Yet the only part of the service that reflects his own words points away from these principles in the direction of religious pluralism. There is a vital difference between the recognition that the UK is now religiously plural, with people of many faiths and none co-existing, and the idea, implicit in Charles’s prayer, that people of all religions are children of God. A true Protestant can recognise the former and agree with the idea of religious freedom, but no true Protestant can accept the latter.
These core Protestant beliefs are also in direct contradiction to Roman Catholic doctrine, which adds the teaching of the Church under the authority of the Pope alongside Scripture as a source of authoritative doctrine and obscures the uniqueness of Christ as Saviour with its ideas about Mary and the saints. Some of the changes in the coronation liturgy – the use of Latin words originally composed for Roman Catholic use and the blessing of the anointing oil – are more in line with Roman Catholic beliefs than Protestantism. The fact that a Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church will bless Charles also implies there is no fundamental difference between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. Were Henry VIII and Edward VI, not to say the Protestants who were martyred at the hands of Edwards Roman Catholic sister Mary after his death, mistaken in thinking there was? Would a true Protestant be happy with these changes?
Writing for Premier Christianity early in the new king’s reign, Catherine Pepinster said, “the institutional religious ducks are in a row for the new King Charles”, but, “we still await the signs that [his personal faith] matches that of his mother”. She suggested his first Christmas broadcast may be telling, since his mother had “transformed [it] into her personal testimony of faith in Jesus Christ”. I think it is fair to say that speech proved disappointing for anyone who hoped the new king would follow his mother’s example. Charles referred to his visit to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Although he said, “It meant more to me than I can possibly express to stand on that spot where, as the Bible tells us, 'The light that has come into the world' was born”, he continued to say:
While Christmas is, of course, a Christian celebration, the power of light overcoming darkness is celebrated across the boundaries of faith and belief. So, whatever faith you have, or whether you have none, it is in this life-giving light, and with the true humility that lies in our service to others, that I believe we can find hope for the future. Let us therefore celebrate it together, and cherish it always. With all my heart, I wish each of you a Christmas of peace, happiness and everlasting light.
The synergies between these words and the 2023 coronation liturgy are striking:
Both focus on service to others. That is a laudable aim and certainly important for any modern idea of monarchy. I doubt anyone wants to go back to the king actually ruling over us! I also agree with Charles that Jesus Christ is the ultimate example of servanthood. But I am not sure that Charles sees Jesus as more than an example to emulate. Does he acknowledge him as Lord? Does he see him as Saviour? The coronation liturgy does call Jesus Lord quite often and it does refer to salvation from sins, but I have not found any evidence that Charles uses such words when they are not presented in liturgy.
Both imply that people of all faiths and none can serve together. Again, I do not think that needs to be contentious and we can recognise that people of various faiths do good works. I should say, however, that I find the phrase “common good” that is used in the liturgy by leaders of various faiths, problematic. The biblical definition of good is conformity to the image of Christ (see Romans 8:28-29). I doubt Christians hold that in common with people of other faiths. I also doubt that Charles would agree with that definition of good.
In both, Charles implies that Christians and people of other beliefs share the same relationship with God – in the coronation prayer we are all children of God and in the Christmas speech we all have the same life-giving light. In the absence of any other indicators, these comments appear to be Charles’s personal convictions. I do not doubt his sincerity in his personal faith or in making his vows, including his intention to serve the people, but I see no evidence that he has a genuine biblical faith in the Lord Jesus. It seems he is not a true Protestant but a true pluralist.
During the coronation service, Justin Welby will invite the people of the UK to do homage to King Charles and to say, “God save the King” and “may the king live forever”. I will not be pledging allegiance to Charles, but I will use those words in prayer. In doing so, I will be praying that he will come to know Jesus as his Lord and Saviour and so find eternal life in him.