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The United Kingdom is finalizing the preparations for the coronation of King Charles III Saturday, a major event marked with pomp, tradition, and religiosity that comes amid questions about the future of the centuries-old British monarchy, the Associated Press reported Thursday.

Charles automatically ascended to the throne when his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, passed away on Sept. 8, 2022, with the official proclamation of his ascendancy coming two days later. Although there is no legal requirement for the coronation, the event is seen as a more formal confirmation of his role as the head of state, as well as the titular head of the Church of England, and is intended to show the king’s authority is derived from God.

Still, Saturday’s coronation will be a more slimmed-down version compared with Elizabeth’s: She was crowned queen in 1953. Organizers have also tried to make it more modern.

For example, the king will present himself as “the defender of faiths,” as opposed to “the defender of the faith,” the Washington Post noted. The move acknowledges that Britain is no longer an exclusively Christian country but a multi-faith nation consisting of various religions, including atheists.

For the first time in four centuries, adherents of other religions will participate actively in what has been almost entirely a Protestant ceremony. The coronation will also feature female bishops for the first time.

Meanwhile, coronation organizers are also asking the British to swear their allegiance to the monarch wherever they are: Any person watching, streaming and listening to Saturday’s event will be invited to recite a new “homage of the people.”

It is the first time in history that all royal subjects have been publicly asked to join in a coronation ceremony in this manner, which organizers described as a novelty made feasible by contemporary technology.

A hundred heads of state – including foreign royalty – are set to participate in the coronation. US President Joe Biden, however, will not attend, although First Lady Jill Biden is expected to.

The coronation comes at a time when opinion polls show that support for the monarchy is weakening, with some wondering whether Britain still needs the antiquated institution and who should pay for it.

The anti-monarchist group Republic said it plans to have more than a thousand protesters chant “Not my king” during the ceremony.

At the same time, countries that are part of the Commonwealth – such as Belize and Jamaica – are questioning the value of keeping the monarch as their head of state.

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