The British public has been asked to form a 'chorus of a million voices' to pledge an oath of loyalty to King Charles during his coronation ceremony on Saturday – but not all voices have chorused in approval of the idea.
The invitation was listed among the new elements of an ancient ceremony in a statement from Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby's office.
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While British subjects watch the coronation on screens at home, in parks and at pubs across the country they will be asked to join together and repeat the following words: "I swear that I will pay true allegiance to Your Majesty, and to your heirs and successors according to law. So help me God."
Campaign group Republic branded the idea "an offensive and tone deaf gesture that holds the people in contempt," noting that the 'heirs and successors' include the king's controversial brother, Prince Andrew.
A recent poll conducted by the National Centre for Social Research shows that British support for the monarchy is at an all time low, with 45 percent of respondents saying either it should be abolished, was not very important, or not at all important.
A separate poll from Ipsos this week showed that in spite of the fanfare for the upcoming coronation, there was limited faith in King Charles' ability to handle his new role, with less than 50 percent of Britons believing that he would do a good job as the monarch.
Lambeth Palace, the official London residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, hopes for "great cry around the nation and around the world of support for the King" and insisted that the homage is "very much an invitation rather than an expectation or request."
A coronation of firsts
The call to swear allegiance to the King is the first time the British public has been asked to play an active role in a coronation.
In other firsts, the service will include other languages associated with the British Isles – a prayer in Welsh and a hymn in Welsh, Scottish Gaelic and Irish Gaelic – and female bishops will be able to participate.
Charles, who became monarch of the UK and 14 other realms on the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth in September, is due to be crowned on May 6 at London's Westminster Abbey.
"This Coronation celebrates the traditions of over 1000 years," Welby said on Twitter. "It also features new and revised texts and other elements, and the participation of people of all ages and many faiths and backgrounds – as we look forward together with hope."
The new parts of the event are meant to reflect the theme of serving others and represent and celebrate diversity, with members of other faiths set to play an active role in the service for the first time, Welby's office said.
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