The King has praised the tolerance of Britons as he urged the world to be more understanding of difference at a time of such “turmoil” and such “heartbreaking loss of life” in Israel and Gaza.
He is also concerned by the tensions which have arisen between different communities in the UK since the conflict escalated.
King Charles made the call in a speech to the City of London as he took part in a ceremony for a new Sovereign which dates back to one of his predecessors, King William III, in 1689.
He was presented with The Pearl Sword – a gift to the City of London from Elizabeth I – and immediately returned it to symbolise the authority of the Lord Mayor in London’s Square Mile when the Monarch is not present.
Charles’ mother, the late Queen Elizabeth also carried out the Pearl Sword Ceremony, as new Sovereign, in 1953.
In a speech in the city’s Mansion House, which focused on British society and British values, King Charles told his hosts that he’s been reflecting “on what it is that makes this nation of ours so special” since his accession.
Without mentioning the politics of division in the UK in recent years, like Brexit or Scottish independence or cancel culture, he did express his concerns about the fractious nature of the debate on social media and urged the country to engage in a more civil discourse.
Royal aides said it was a “plea for calm and for respect”.
Although this was not a speech about recent events, he did reference the current conflict between Israel and Gaza.
The King said British values of religious freedoms and mutual understanding are needed now more than ever in places like the Middle East.
“Such understanding, at home and overseas, is never more vital than at times of international turmoil and heartbreaking loss of life”, Charles said.
He is said to be concerned by some of the tensions between the UK’s different communities since the Hamas terrorist attack on Israelis and the Israeli air strikes in Gaza and believes it is his duty, as Monarch, to unite the country where he can.
The is the first time the King has spoken in public about the conflict although his words were more measured than last week when Buckingham Palace said King Charles was “appalled by and condemns the barbaric acts of terrorism in Israel.”
He has also hosted the Chief Rabbi, Sir Ephraim Mirvis at Buckingham Palace to show his support for the victims and the King expressed “his thoughts and prayers for all those suffering” in the region.
Looking ahead to future which Charles said will be shaped by rapid advances in AI, the effects of climate change and the movement of people to our shores, the King said he was confident the UK could withstand these changes because of this country’s “deep wells” of tolerance, of religious freedoms and a desire to care for those less fortunate.
Without straying into politics, either at home or abroad, the King urged people to refocus on what brings us together and what unites the four nations of the UK.
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