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It has been proposed that at the Coronation, the "general public" will be "invited" to swear an oath which takes the form "I swear that I will pay true allegiance to your majesty, and to your heirs and successors, according to law. So help me God."

This article suggests the idea that Charles himself would find this "objectionable". It also suggests that the inclusion of this oath in the coronation might have more to do with the Archbishop of Canterbury, and that Lambeth Palace might have a greater responsibility for it than Buckingham. The same article suggests "God save the King" as an alternative, but not "Long live the King".

With research suggesting that a majority of the United Kingdom declare no religion, and with Atheists, Agnostics, Druids, Shamanists and others no more inherently likely to be republican than monarchist, there may be a number of people who object more to the reference to God than to the idea of a King.

With both the monarchy and the church having constitutional power in the UK, and with the Courts and others providing an alternative affirmation to the religious oath, has there been a suggestion for a secular alternative for the Coronation?

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    You could just miss off the "so help me god" part. May 5, 2023 at 9:09
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    @PaulJohnson - I could. If I was a monarchist. Not all about me, though. Has this been suggested officially or in the press? May 5, 2023 at 9:12
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    The coronation is a specifically Christian service, so it does kind of make sense that the oath mentions God. Note that those who are required to take an oath of allegiance as part of their job (e.g. MPs) can indeed take an affirmation instead, which doesn't mention God. May 5, 2023 at 9:50
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    @SteveMelnikoff - That's sounding like an answer - though there have been specific mentions that Charles' coronation is different to previous ones "to represent multiple faiths, cultures, and communities across the United Kingdom" (Wikipedia). May 5, 2023 at 10:01
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    Having the general public swear this oath is already different from previous ones. In the past it was just the peers doing it. That's one of the reasons for the controversy, and also why it's just an invitation rather than a requirement.
    – Barmar
    May 5, 2023 at 19:17

2 Answers 2

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This oath of allegiance is essentially the Oath of Allegiance given by certain public servants, originally defined in the Promissory Oaths Act 1868:

Form of oath of allegiance.

The oath in this Act referred to as the oath of allegiance shall be in the form following; that is to say, “I, , do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Victoria, her heirs and successors, according to law. So help me God.”

According to the official site of the Parliament of the United Kingdom here, the modern version references Charles and is similar to what the public may be 'invited' to do:

I swear by Almighty God that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to His Majesty King Charles, his heirs and successors, according to law. So help me God.

On that site they have versions of the oath for Scottish, Welsh, and Cornish Parliament members, and mention that a non-religious 'solemn affirmation' is also acceptable:

I do solemnly, sincerely, and truly declare and affirm, that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to His Majesty King Charles, his heirs and successors, according to law.

Since this 'solemn affirmation' is an acceptable secular replacement for the oath that members of Parliament need to take, then it's likely a secular oath that UK citizens could choose to take.

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  • Sounds right, though there's been less talk of it in the press than I would have expected. Between this and Steve's comment I think we're about there. I suppose from a political and constitutional viewpoint Charles became king on 8 September : the weekend's activities have been ceremonial and / or religious and the public oath was part of that. May 9, 2023 at 11:27
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Monarchies in European tradition derive from the divine right. Without such a divine justification, monarchy becomes obsolete - indeed, why would be one unelected individual put above everyone else? One could as well abolish the monarchy altogether and proclaim a constitution. Charles III simply didn't want to open this can of worms.

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    – Philipp
    May 27, 2023 at 14:19

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