Prince William rarely attends church - despite being future Church of England head

((Photo: Reuters/Luke MacGregor))

Prince William "rarely" attends church despite being the future Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England, a British newspaper reported.

As future king, Prince William will one day have the responsibility to govern and protect the Anglican Church, a role that Queen Elizabeth II, who attends church on a weekly basis, has dutifully carried out.

However, the United Kingdom's newspaper Daily Mail reported yesterday that the 30-year-old prince, along with his wife Kate Middleton, "rarely, if ever" attends services of the church he'll one day govern. Although both are confirmed in the Anglican faith, they only go to church a "handful" of times each year, according to the paper.

The last time Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge were seen at a church service was on Christmas Day, when the royal couple attended a service with Middleton's family.

William was confirmed in the Anglican faith at the age of 14 in 1997. Middleton also chose to be baptized as an Anglican weeks before the couple's wedding in 2011.

Despite his rare church attendance, a spokesman for Prince William maintains that he is a dedicated Christian, telling the Daily Mail, "The Duke of Cambridge is a committed Anglican and has a strong personal faith."

The British newspaper observes that William's infrequent church attendance will "add fuel to the fire" to those who argue that the Church of England has little relevance in Britain today. One survey from the U.K.-based Christian charity Tearfund found that just 10 percent of the population attend church weekly.

The Church of England, meanwhile, reported that around 1.1 million attend the services at one of its 16,000 churches each week.

According to the British constitution, the monarch holds the title 'Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England'.

The monarch not only appoints the Archbishops and bishops in the church on advice of the Prime Minister, but also must approve the resignations of parish priests. Laws must also receive royal approval from the sovereign.

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