The Prince of Wales has been presented with an award recognising his efforts to build bridges and understanding between communities.
Charles received the Council of Christian and Jews’ (CCJ) Bridge Award during a ceremony at Spencer House in central London, attended by leading figures from the organisation including one of its presidents the Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis.
In an acceptance speech, the prince said: “Trying to build bridges between faith communities and to deepen mutual understanding has been a major part of my life’s work. So, I cannot tell you how profoundly grateful I am for such a very special accolade.
“We here know the vital role that faith communities have played across the world during this ghastly pandemic.
“Consoling the bereaved, caring for the sick, feeding the hungry and helping people financially. The more we continue to do this, together, across the faiths, the greater will be the harmony in the world as we come out of lockdown.”
The Right Reverend Michael Ipgrave, Bishop of Lichfield and the CCJ’s chair, said: “We are delighted to present our Bridge Award to the prince.
“Since 1942, CCJ has been building bridges between peoples and communities. In a similar vein, His Royal Highness has been a bridge builder extraordinaire, supporting diverse faith and ethnic communities over several decades.
“He has been a steadfast friend of all the faith communities, reflecting the duality of the monarchy’s role as Supreme Governor of the Church of England but also at the helm of a multi-faith country and Commonwealth.
“To borrow the words of the famous American Jewish folk duo Simon and Garfunkel, the prince has been a Bridge over Troubled Water.”
Introduced in 2017 for CCJ’s 75th anniversary, the Bridge Award is an annual honour for someone who has made an exceptional and leading contribution to building bridges between peoples, in a Christian-Jewish or wider setting.
Charles received the award for 2020, but the presentation was delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Zaki Cooper, CCJ trustee and founder of the Bridge Award, said: “The task of building bridges remains as necessary as ever, as an antidote to polarisation, division and ignorance.
“The prince has been a long-standing champion of this important work between different religious groups, and also as a particularly steadfast friend to minority faith and ethnic groups.
“Whilst diversity and inclusion has become a buzzword recently, the prince has been championing this agenda over many years, out of a sense of humanity and the common good.
“He not only has an acute understanding of the value of faith in theory, but is also a friend of all the faiths in practice.”