King Charles should declare himself as the Defender of Faith, rather than Defender of the Faith, former First Minister and Alba Party Leader Alex Salmon has said.
King Charles III’ oath, read by the King at the Accession Council as he was proclaimed king, includes a commitment to uphold the Church of Scotland.
The King can object to the oaths, such as in 1910 when King George V refused the anti-Catholic wording of the declaration oath, which was changed in the Accession Declaration Act 1910.
The Former First Minister noted that the inclusion of the Claim of Right contained in the oath goes back to the Declaration of Arbroath addressed to Pope John XXII.
“The Claim of Right, in the sense that it’s contractual government, is stated in the very explicitly in the Declaration of Arbroath where it says that if good King Robert refuses to defend our rights we will get somebody else.”
“His contract was to defend the community of the realm – the reference being to John Balliol who had refused to do so.
“Eventually,” Salmond said, “as the Protestant religion was in the ascendency, the contract made with King William and Queen Mary was to protect the established Church that was then carried into the Act of Union.
“Charles has previous said that he wished to be known as the Defender of Faith rather than the Defender of the Faith. Of course, this is often thought of as an English title but the first king in these isles to be called the Defender of the Faith was King James IV by Pope Julius II, the warrior Pope.”
“But the underlying theme of this is not a religious bias, it’s that the community of the realm and the people have the ability to determine how they’re governed and by whom.”
Mr Salmond said the King, inheriting a multi-faith kingdom, could have declared himself the Defender of all faiths.
“I don’t think anyone would have objected,” he said.
“His advisors should have suggested that to him, which I am sure he would have wanted to do, as opposed to having the BBC explain to people that it’s a historical anachronism and that it doesn’t mean anything.
“They’re wrong: it’s very important, it’s just that it needs to be explained in modern, acceptable language.”