29 November 2022
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Queen Elizabeth II is the first British monarch to celebrate a platinum jubilee, marking her 70 years on the throne. Like all jubilees since the first celebration of 50 years of King George III’s reign in 1809, this is a national occasion with celebrations arranged in many communities across the United Kingdom.

Modern royal jubilees have become chiefly associated with holidays, processions and parties. But jubilees are also religious events, and their history reveals the monarchy’s widening role in British religion and communal relations.

Religion is very important for the British monarchy. For the royal family, it is a matter of personal belief, expressed in regular Christian worship. Religious commitment – the association with the sacred and with absolute values – reinforces respect for the monarchy and for its promotion of public service, social cohesion and charitable endeavour.

But this commitment is also a constitutional requirement. The monarch is the supreme governor of the Church of England and “defender of the faith”, the faith of the “protestant reformed religion”. The monarchy is historically a Church of England (Anglican) institution, and coronations and national thanksgiving services are held in Anglican churches.

You might expect that identifying with Anglicanism would have caused problems for the modern monarchy, which presents itself as a representative…

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Abdul Gh Lone