The Queen said on Wednesday that the Church of England was “com­monly under-appreciated”, and she assured non-Christian faiths of “the protection of our Established Church”.

Speaking at a reception of religious leaders from a number of faiths, in the Guard Room of Lambeth Palace, during one of the first public engagements to celeb­rate her Diamond Jubilee year, the Queen said that she wanted “to pay tribute to the particular mission of Christianity and the general value of faith in this country”. She wished to remind people “of the significant position of the Church of England in our nation’s life”.

The Queen continued: “The concept of our Established Church is occasionally misunderstood, and, I believe, commonly under-appreciated. Its role is not to defend Anglicanism to the exclusion of other religions. Instead, the Church has a duty to protect the free prac­tice of all faiths in this country.”

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