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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Benedict Tetzlaff-Deas

King Charles 'won't avoid faith' in first Christmas speech despite fall in worship

King Charles III won't "shy away" from speaking about faith and diversity in his landmark Christmas Day speech later on today, according to a religious leader.

His Majesty's first-ever festive message to the nation will be broadcast later today in a historic moment for the new monarch.

It follows the passing of Queen Elizabeth II back in September this year, with his speech expected to pay moving tribute to his late mother's life and legacy.

Speaking to Sky News, Archbishop Angaelos of the Coptic Orthodox Archbishop of London said faith and diversity will also form central parts of his address - despite recent census figures showing a decline in religious observance in the UK.

King Charles III's first ever Christmas Day message will be broadcast later today (PA)
Faith will be a big part of the King's festive speech, says a religious leader (Yui Mok/AP/REX/Shutterstock)

Having spent time with the monarch over recent weeks, he told the broadcaster: "On the ground, we know that faith and religion, and belief, matter to people and so if the monarch knows that this matters to people I think he will address it."

"The King's language of blessing and Merry Christmas, his appreciation for the work of Christian communities and faith communities in the world, and the wider community at difficult times, it's all an indication that he's not shying away from faith.

He added that he was "confident" the public and all those practicing religion will be "pleasantly satisfied" by his message.

Archbishop Angaelos of the Coptic Orthodox Archbishop of London said the King knows that religion "matters to people" (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

The King will also be mindful of his role as head of the Commonwealth in his speech, according to the Archbishop.

Census data from 2021 revealed the percentage of people saying they had no religion jumped from around a quarter in 2011 (25.2 per cent) to over a third in 2021 (37.2 per cent).

But like his late mother, King Charles is thought to take his title of Defender of the Faith seriously, which reflects his role as supreme governor of the Church of England.

Prior to taking the throne, he reportedly even considered altering the title of 'Defender of Faith' to reflect a duty towards all religions in the UK, though this change has not taken place.

The King's inaugural festive broadcast is set to air on BBC One at 3pm on Christmas day.

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