By politics.co.uk staff
The Church of England is "occasionally misunderstood" and "commonly under-appreciated", the Queen has said.
The comment comes a day after Baroness Warsi delivered a speech in the Vatican calling for a central role for Christianity in British public life.
"The concept of our established Church is occasionally misunderstood and, I believe, commonly under-appreciated," the monarch said at a multi-faith reception in Lambeth Palace today.
"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, who is also head of the Church of England, said the church had a "significant position" in British life.
"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 was accompanied by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, during the visit.