The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Justin Welby, welcomed His Majesty King Charles III to Lambeth Palace Library this afternoon to join a reception of UK faith leaders.
The Royal visit, which marks Inter Faith Week, was attended by over 30 faith leaders and community representatives from across the UK. Guests included the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, Sir Ephraim Mirvis KBE; Aliya Azam MBE from the Al Khoei Foundation, and the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, His Eminence Cardinal Vincent Nichols.
It was an opportunity for faith leaders to talk to The King and Archbishop Justin about what their communities are experiencing in the light of global conflicts, and how those conflicts far away affect community relations in this country.
Before meeting the faith leaders, King Charles, accompanied by the Archbishop, met senior staff from Lambeth Palace and the Library, and viewed displays with items from different faith traditions from the Library’s collection. The objects represented a range of world faiths and included precious Qurans, a Hebrew dictionary, historic religious scrolls dating back to the 13th and 16th Centuries, and letters of friendship between global faith leaders.
His Majesty also met those working on Project Spire, which is being carried out by the Church Commissioners. Project Spire is ongoing research which seeks to gain an improved understanding of the links between the Church of England’s endowment fund (historically known as Queen Anne’s Bounty) and transatlantic chattel slavery.
Today was The King’s first visit to Lambeth Palace Library since his Accession, and also the first time that the Monarch has been to Lambeth Palace since Queen Elizabeth II was here in 2012 to mark her Diamond Jubilee.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Justin Welby, said: “It was a great honour to welcome King Charles to Lambeth Palace Library today. These are challenging times for faith communities in the UK, particularly with the ongoing war in the Middle East. Today’s visit by The King was a wonderful encouragement to remain united in partnership and friendship – as many people of faith are doing across the country.
“The visit reflects The King’s longstanding commitment to supporting all faiths in the UK, which we saw so powerfully at the Coronation. It also continues the exemplary work of Queen Elizabeth II, who championed the Church of England’s duty to protect the freedom of all faiths in this country. Jesus Christ calls us to be peacemakers, and that is especially important right now. I hope this visit by The King inspires the Church of England to continue in our calling to love our neighbours and help bring communities together.”
Today’s reception was held in the Bancroft Room at the top of Lambeth Palace Library. The building, newly opened two years ago, contains the archives of the Church of England and is the historic library of the Archbishops of Canterbury. Find out more about the Lambeth Palace Library here.
Inter Faith Week is an annual event that aims to promote tolerance and greater understanding between different faiths and communities. Learn more about Interfaith Week here.