Call for millions to take part in ‘Homage of the People’ to King Charles at the coronation sparks backlash as republicans brand it ‘offensive and tone-deaf gesture’
- The historic rite of aristocrats pledging their oath to the King has been scrapped
- People are being invited to take part by vocally offering their ‘true allegiance’
A call for millions of citizens to ‘pay homage’ to King Charles during his coronation brought an unexpected backlash yesterday.
The Archbishop of Canterbury’s office this weekend revealed plans to make the ceremony more of a ‘People’s Coronation’ by scrapping the historic rite of aristocrats pledging their oath to the new sovereign.
Only the Prince of Wales will now kneel before the King and pledge to be his ‘liege man of life and limb’.
In a trailblazing move Lambeth Palace said citizens of the UK and Commonwealth would be offered the chance to ‘make their homage in heart and voice to their undoubted King’ instead.
But the move sparked much conversation yesterday as the nation debated whether it would heed the call.
Only the Prince of Wales will now kneel before the King (pictured) and pledge to be his ‘liege man of life and limb’
The Homage of the People is one of a number of significant updates to the ancient ritual to make it more inclusive and up to date
That led to a Lambeth Palace source stressing that it was an ‘invitation’ for people watching the ceremony on Saturday to take part by vocally offering their ‘true allegiance’ to the monarch and his heirs, rather than an ‘expectation or request’.
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The order of service will read: ‘All who so desire, in the Abbey, and elsewhere, say together: I swear that I will pay true allegiance to Your Majesty, and to your heirs and successors according to law. So help me God.’
A spokesman for Lambeth Palace said: ‘The Homage of the People is particularly exciting because that’s brand new.
‘Our hope is at that point, when the archbishop invites people to join in, that people wherever they are, if they’re watching at home on their own, watching the telly, will say it out loud – this sense of a great cry around the nation and around the world of support for the King.’
While it was clear there is no diktat whatsoever to do so, both Buckingham Palace and Lambeth Palace were clearly taken aback yesterday by the strength of feeling the invitation provoked, however.
Many felt their well-meant rallying cry played into the hands of Republicans and critics of the ceremony generally, sparking an outpouring of comment and criticism on social media.
Labour MP Clive Lewis told the Guardian that he thought the proposed oath would be ‘either unwelcome or ignored by many’.
Republic, the anti-monarchist organisation, said it was ‘an offensive and tone-deaf gesture that holds the people in contempt’.
But transport secretary Mark Harper told Sky News he would be swearing the oath and said MPs already pledge allegiance to His Majesty.
The order of service will read: ‘All who so desire, in the Abbey, and elsewhere, say together: I swear that I will pay true allegiance to Your Majesty, and to your heirs and successors according to law. So help me God’
Labour MP Clive Lewis (pictured) told the Guardian that he thought the proposed oath would be ‘either unwelcome or ignored by many’
He said the coronation would be a ‘fantastic opportunity’ and a ‘great showcase for Britain around the world’.
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Labour’s Shabana Mahmood MP, agreed saying it was a ‘lovely idea to involve the people’ and that the oath was a ‘lovely touch’.
Last night a Lambeth Palace source clarified that the invitation was very much optional and simply an opportunity for people to join in should they so wish.
They said: ‘This is very much an invitation rather than an expectation or request, as you can see from the Archbishop’s introduction to the homage.
‘It’s simply an opportunity offered by the Archbishop so that, unlike previous Coronations, those who wish to join in with the words being spoken by the Abbey congregation could do so in a very simple way.
‘For those who do want to take part, some will want to say all the words of the homage; some might just want to say ‘God Save The King’ at the end; others might just want to it to be a moment of private reflection. ‘
They added: ‘We live in a wonderfully diverse society with many different perspectives and beliefs, and it’s quite right that people decide for themselves how they relate to this moment.
‘Much like the National Anthem, it’s for people to join in if that feels right for them.
For those who may wish to join in, we hope it’s a moment of joy and celebration – both in the Abbey, and in homes around the country and beyond.’
The Homage of the People is one of a number of significant updates to the ancient ritual to make it more inclusive and up to date.
Key roles will be handed to representatives of other faiths, as well as the Church of England. Female members of the clergy will also be involved for the first time.
Queen Camilla will also become the first consort in history to be anointed with Holy oil in full public view.
While her husband’s anointing will take place behind a screen in order to protect the solemnity of the moment, his wife has dispensed with the canopy previously used by sovereign’s wives such as The Queen Mother and Queen Mary.
Sources said it was her personal preference and would also help ‘speed up’ the ceremony, which is being crammed into two hours.
The King will also be heard for the first time praying aloud with a specially commissioned ‘King’s Prayer’.
There will also be multiple outfit changes for both Charles and Camilla with two sets of robes each.
The multi-faith service will also include prayers said in the traditional languages of the British Isles: Welsh, Scots Gaelic and Irish Gaelic.
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