King Charles meets religious leaders to mark Inter Faith Week amid ‘challenging times’

King Charles meets religious leaders to mark Inter Faith Week amid ‘challenging times’

King Charles met with religious leaders from across the country to mark Inter Faith Week amid “challenging times.”

The monarch, who also celebrated his 75th birthday earlier this week, attended a reception with more than 30 faith leaders and community representatives on Thursday.

The event, held at Lambeth Palace Library, was also attended by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, Chief Rabbi Sir Ephraim Mirvis and Aliya Azam from the Al Khoei Foundation.

The Palace said this was an opportunity for faith leaders to talk to The King about their communities and what they are “experiencing in the light of global conflicts” and how these conflicts “affect community relations in this country”.

Honouring Charles’ visit, Mr Welby said it was a “great honour to welcome King Charles” adding: “These are challenging times for faith communities in the UK, particularly with the ongoing war in the Middle East.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury said the visit was a means of encouraging communities to be “united in partnership and friendship.”

Archbishop of Canterbury showed King Charles different religious artefacts at the library (PA)
Archbishop of Canterbury showed King Charles different religious artefacts at the library (PA)

The monarch was also shown different religious artefacts at the library, including an English translation of The Quran from 1734, a Talmud, which is nearly 500 years old and a Bible from 1808.

Mr Welby showed Charles a Coronation Bible and the King signed the library’s visitors’ book.

Thanking the staff on his way out, the monarch said: “Well done for all the marvellous things you do.”

“I hope opening the blinds hasn’t caused too much damage – it would be all my fault,” he quipped.

This was the King’s first visit to Lambeth Palace Library since his accession and his first time to Lambeth Palace since Queen Elizabeth II visited in 2012 to mark her Diamond Jubilee.

The royal family’s official X/Twitter account also shared pictures from The King’s visit, with the caption: “This afternoon, The King joined more than 30 faith leaders @LamPalLib to mark #InterFaithWeek. His Majesty has worked for many years to promote tolerance and greater understanding between different faiths and communities.

“At Lambeth Palace Library, His Majesty viewed an exhibition of interfaith items from its historic collection. Amongst the items were documents relating to Project Spire: ongoing research on the links between the Church of England’s endowment fund and transatlantic slavery,” the account added.

Meanwhile, in Glasgow earlier this week, The Princess Royal attended a forum hosted by Interfaith Glasgow.

“Her Royal Highness joined a discussion on the importance of interfaith dialogue and the valuable contribution diverse faith communities make to our society,” the royal family wrote on X.

Inter Faith Week began on Remembrance Sunday (12 November) and will end on Sunday 19 November.

Inter Faith has said on its website that the “additional Sunday provides the opportunity for other weekend events to take place as well as those linked to Remembrance Sunday.

“Remembrance Sunday was chosen as a start day to encourage people to remember together the contributions of all faiths and none, and to consider how best to create a just, peaceful, and harmonious world.”

The week is set out to highlight the work done by local faith groups as well as teaching people about different spaces and backgrounds.

The organisation has said its three aims for the week are to strengthen “good inter faith relations at all levels”, increase “awareness of the different and distinct faith communities in the UK” and bring about “understanding between people of religious and non-religious beliefs.”