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The coronation ceremony for King Charles will include a new tradition where people will be encouraged to swear allegiance to the king, and his heirs.WOLFGANG RATTAY/Reuters

King Charles has been eager to make his coronation ceremony more inclusive by dropping some ancient rituals, but a move to encourage people from across the realms, which includes Canadians, to swear allegiance to the King has been a step too far for many.

For centuries a central part of the coronation service at Westminster Abbey included an act of homage by hereditary peers and aristocrats who knelt before the newly crowned King or Queen and swore an oath of loyalty.

King Charles has replaced that tradition with a “homage of the people.” Everyone watching the service in Britain and “the other realms and the territories” will be encouraged to say: “I will pay true allegiance to your majesty, and to your heirs and successors according to law. So help me God.”

Officials in the office of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the spiritual leader of the Church of England who presides over the coronation, said they hope people “will say it out loud – this sense of a great cry around the nation and around the world of support for the King.”

“Never before in our history have the general public been offered such an opportunity to join with national figures in declaring their allegiance to a new sovereign,” said a press release from Lambeth Palace, the office of the Archbishop.

While some politicians welcomed the idea, others said it showed how tone deaf and out of touch the Royal Family had become.

“Asking us to chant our allegiance does seem an odd request when so many of us think that the monarchy is an outdated institution that needs drastic reform,” said Jenny Jones, a member of the House of Lords.

Adrian Ramsay, co-leader of the Green Party, said he would watch the coronation on television “because it’s a key time for the nation, but a pledge is somewhat outdated.”

Swearing allegiance to Charles is “tantamount to asking the people of Scotland to join in with one big cry of Rule Britannia,” said Chris McEleny, general secretary of Scotland’s pro-independence Alba party.

“Did they not realize that this is a direct reversal of the principles of democracy?” added Graham Smith, who heads an anti-monarchist group called Republic. “He should pay homage to us, and thank us for the privilege and money, then apologize and quit.”

There were plenty of voices in support of the change.

“When His Majesty became King most members of Parliament actually retook the oaths that we take to his majesty and I am very happy to do that again,” said Mark Harper, the Transport Secretary.

Labour Party MP Shabana Mahmood also said it was a “lovely idea to involve the people and instead of a homage of the peers, as it used to be, it is now a homage of the people.”

In a follow-up statement, Lambeth Palace said the Archbishop was simply giving the public an opportunity to participate if they wanted to.

The public homage isn’t the only major alteration to the coronation service, which hadn’t been updated in nearly 1,000 years.

Lambeth Palace said that at the start of the ceremony, King Charles will be greeted by one of the child choristers in the Chapel Royal Choir, to underscore the importance of young people in society. The service will also include sections in Welsh, Scottish Gaelic and Irish Gaelic, the first time other languages have been used. Female bishops will also participate for the first time and the King will receive “a spoken greeting delivered in unison by Representatives from Jewish, Hindu, Sikh, Muslim and Buddhist communities.”

“I am delighted that the service will recognize and celebrate tradition, speaking to the great history of our nation, our customs, and those who came before us.” Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, said in a statement. “At the same time, the service contains new elements that reflect the diversity of our contemporary society.”

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