Report to propose shake-up of church-state relations
The Queen should be stripped of her title as Supreme Governor of the Church of England according to a major new report on the monarchy.
In what would be one of the most radical changes since Henry VIII, the year-long commission on the Future of the Monarchy will argue in a report, to be published in the next fortnight, that the Queen should become a head of state not committed to any particular religion.
The commission, which was set up by the Fabian Society and received the full co-operation of Buckingham Palace, will say it does not want to see full disestablishment of the Church of England, but rather that it should lose its links to the monarchy.
Senior figures within the Church are known to be sympathetic to the findings.
The Bishop of Woolwich, Colin Buchanan, a well-known supporter of disestablishment, is believed to have told the commission that he agreed with the move.
It is also thought that the Archbishop of Canterbury, wants to give the relationship between Church and monarchy a more 'modern' feel.
Chaired by the barrister David Bean, the commission also includes Lord Waheed Alli, the high-flying Labour peer; Lord Kenneth Morgan, the constitutional historian; and Professor Dawn Oliver, constitutional law expert at University College, London.
Prince Charles is known to be keen to modernise the monarchy and has spoken about being a 'defender of faiths' rather than the present oath which makes the monarch the 'Defender of the Faith' - Christianity.
He has also told senior staff he would want his coronation to be a 'multi-faith' experience in contrast to the heavily Christian service of his mother's coronation in 1952.
"We want to make the argument that the monarchy needs to be seen as a modern institution there for all of the people of Britain, whether they are Christians or non-Christians," said one source close to the commission.
"It is no longer appropriate for the monarch to be so closely allied with one religion."
Such a change would overturn one of the most controversial aspects of the monarchy, that a Catholic cannot accede to the throne.
"It would mean that people of any faith or no religious beliefs could be the monarch," the source said.