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Queen 'should remain Defender of the Faith' - BBC poll

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The Queen defended the role of the Church of England in a speech at Lambeth Palace

Almost 80% of people in England support a religious role for the Queen, a BBC poll suggests.

In a poll by Comres to coincide with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, 79% of respondents said she still had an important faith role.

Meanwhile, 73% said she should continue as supreme governor of the Church of England and keep the Defender of the Faith title first given to Henry VIII.

Comres polled 2,591 people about links between the Church and monarchy.

About 25% of those polled thought the Queen and future monarchs should not have any faith role.

Common values The Queen's first Jubilee engagement of the year was at a multi-faith reception at Lambeth Palace, where she defended the role of the Church of England.

She said the Church was often misunderstood and under-appreciated.

"Its role is not to defend Anglicanism to the exclusion of all other religions, instead the Church has a duty to protect the free practice of all faiths in this country," she said.

A few weeks later she made her first Jubilee visit to Leicester, where she was greeted by Indian drummers, a Zimbabwean choir and a traditional brass band.

She also attended a service at Leicester Cathedral.

The Bishop of Leicester, the Right Reverend Tim Stevens, said it was no coincidence that she went to the city at the start of her Jubilee year.

"What we saw in Leicester was the power of that arrangement to hold people together from different faiths, if you disestablish the Church and disconnect the Church from the monarchy, it gives the impression there are almost no values we share in common at all."

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