15/02/2012 09:36 GMT | Updated 15/02/2012 09:54 GMT

Queen Defends 'Misunderstood' Church Of England At Jubilee Event (PHOTOS)

The Queen has waded into the public debate over religion, saying the Church of England is "occasionally misunderstood" and "commonly under-appreciated."

The Monarch, who is also head of the Church of England, said in a speech at a multi-faith reception in Lambeth Palace on Wednesday that the Church had a "significant position" in British life.

"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."

The Queen also met representatives from other faiths

The Queen was at one of the public events to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee year, and said the "concept" of a jubilee was rooted in the Bible.

"Many of the values and ideas we take for granted in this and other countries originate in the ancient wisdom of our traditions," she said.

The monarch, accompanied by Prince Philip, was met by Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams.

Her comments come the day after Conservative cabinet minister Baroness Warsi said the UK was facing "militant secularisation".