King Charles made ruler of France in historical blunder
New versions of one of the oldest ecclesiastical books in the English language are being withdrawn from sale after they mistakenly stated that Charles III was the King of France and Ireland.
Cambridge University Press, known as the King’s Printer, publishes the Book of Common Prayer on behalf of the Crown and makes alterations to the text when the Church of England instructs it to do so.
After receiving Royal Warrants instructing it to make changes following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, new prayer books were printed with updates to reflect the accession of the King.
However, during the printing process at Cambridge University Press, someone inadvertently replaced the name of Elizabeth I with that of Charles III in the ratification, dating from 1571, of the Thirty-Nine Articles at the back.
It meant the new version of the prayer book erroneously stated that the King ruled over England, France and Ireland, and not Scotland or Wales.
The previous version read: “Our Sovereign Lady ELIZABETH, by the grace of God, of England, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith.”
The new version read: “Our Sovereign Lord CHARLES, by the grace of God, of England, France and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith.”
The mistake happened because the passage in the book refers to Elizabeth I, who was monarch at the time the articles were written, rather than Elizabeth II, who died last September.
The Book of Common Prayer has been regularly reprinted after the accession of previous monarchs without Elizabeth I’s name being replaced.
There was speculation on social media that the error had occurred because an editor had used a find and replace word processing shortcut to swap the name of Elizabeth for Charles. Sources close to the publisher played down this theory, but admitted there had been “human error”.
The sources said “a few hundred copies” from a larger print run of the prayer book, which costs £9.99, had been sent out before the error was noticed.
A spokesman for Cambridge University Press told the Telegraph: “We will issue a new edition shortly to correct this mistake. We will provide replacements or refunds to anyone who would like one.”
However it might be that anyone who bought a new copy of the prayer book with the misprint will hang on to it, as the books are likely to be collectors’ items in coming years.
The Church of England declined to comment. A source said the correct articles were available for anyone to read on its website.