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British public: we want a Christian coronation

British public: we want a Christian coronation

The coronation of the next monarch should be a Christian one, according to nearly six in ten (57%) of the British public.

This week (9 September), Queen Elizabeth II will overtake her great great grandmother Victoria to become Britain’s longest reigning monarch. 

While the country has become more secular in the six decades since the Queen was crowned, research carried out for the religion and society think tank Theos has found that there is in fact strong support for our next monarch to carry on a tradition that goes back to 973A.D.

This support extends beyond those of a Christian faith:

• Nearly six in ten non-Christians (57% of a group that included Muslims, Hindus, Jews and people of no religious faith) disagreed that they would be alienated by a Christian coronation

• Less than one in five British adults (19%) thought that a Christian coronation would alienate people of non-Christian faiths from the ceremony. A similar proportion (18%) agreed that it would alienate people of no religious faith.

• 57% of people agreed that the next coronation should be Christian  - nearly three times those who agreed it should be multifaith (19%) and twice those who wanted it to be secular (23%).

“Even in a country as plural and diverse as 21st century Britain, it is surely remarkable that, with hardly any exceptions, both genders, every age bracket, every social grade, every ethnic and religious group tends to favour not only the institution of the monarchy but the Christian ceremony that has been central to that institution throughout its long history,” says Nick Spencer, co-author of the report.

Although a majority of the general public feel that the coronation should not be modified, the think-tank argues that the next coronation should consider some modernisations. Crucially, it should invite representatives of other faiths to be there as “more than guests”, perhaps by pledging allegiance or presenting a copy of their scriptures or other important objects as part of the ceremony. It also suggests reinstating the monarch’s oath reaffirming the primacy of Parliament.

“In her Diamond Jubilee the Queen spoke of people of Christian, other faiths or no faith living freely to co-operate for the common good,” concludes Spencer. “We suggest this should be a model for the next coronation reflecting the country we are today.”

Notes for editors

1.      The survey was carried out by ComRes between 10 and 12 June 2015 and interviewed 2,159 British adults (aged 18+) online. This included a boost to ensure 250 respondents of non-Christian faiths were included within the total sample. Data were weighted to be representative of British adults aged 18+ by age, gender, region and socio-economic grade. Full data tables can be found here.

2.      General press enquiries on the report, and interviews with the authors should be directed to Glenda Cooper; 07736481017. Nick Spencer can also be reached directly on 07914723839.

3.      The full report can be accessed here.

4.      Theos is a religion and society think tank which offers research and commentary on issues of faith and belief. It was launched in November 2006 with the support of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, and the former Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor. For further information about Theos, visit



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