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Catholic World News

British public affirms Queen's role as religious leader

May 15, 2012

Nearly three-quarters of British subjects still believe that Queen Elizabeth and her successors should retain the title of “Defender of the Faith,” a new survey shows.

A ComRes survey of 2,591 British adults found that 73% believe the monarch should keep that title, and even more—79%--believe that the Queen has an important role in faith.

The title “Defender of the Faith”—which, ironically, was conferred upon King Henry VIII in 1521—has been retained by British monarchs since that day. The British sovereign is recognized as head of the established churches in both England and Scotland—although the established church in England is Anglican, and in Scotland, Presbyterian. The current heir to the throne, Prince Charles, has reportedly suggested that he would prefer to be known as “Defender of Faith,” making his claim apply even more generally to all denominations.


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  • Posted by: Defender - May. 15, 2012 6:19 PM ET USA

    Considering the honor was given to Henry VIII to begin with, the Brits still celebrate Guy Fawkes Day and the PM and Archbishop of Canterbury have religious "issues" (e.g. homosexuals, abortion in Africa) which the Queen has either ignored or otherwise stopped, it doesn't really matter. Does it? Would that include, in the future, Prince Charles defending all components of faith?