Rishi Sunak, Britain’s first Prime Minister of Indian heritage and a practicing Hindu, will read from the biblical book of Colossians at King Charles III’s coronation. This is in line with the tradition of British Prime Ministers giving readings at state occasions. The theme for the Christian ceremony at Westminster Abbey on May 6 is multi-faith, and members of other faith traditions will play an active role in the service for the first time.
The Archbishop of Canterbury has selected a new Epistle for this coronation, which will be Colossians 1:9-17. The overall theme of the liturgy is “Called to Serve”, which reflects the commitment that the King will make to serve God and the people of the United Kingdom.
The service has been designed to reflect the changes in the UK since Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953, the character of Britain as it is today, and the Church of England’s role in contemporary society. There are new elements that reflect the diversity of contemporary society, such as Lord Narendra Babubhai Patel representing the Hindu faith and handing over the Sovereign’s Ring to Charles.
The five elements of the historic “English Coronation Rite” will take place in their traditional order: The Recognition; The Oath; The Anointing; The Investiture and Crowning; and The Enthronement and Homage. These elements will take place within the traditional structure of a service of Holy Communion, including prayers and Bible readings, and King Charles and Queen Camilla will receive Holy Communion during the service.