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DNA test reveals the Archbishop of Canterbury’s biological father

DNA test reveals the Archbishop of Canterbury’s biological father

Jane & Gavin Welby with baby Justin

When one is a well known figure, one doesn’t always have a lot of control about the press interfering in one’s life! So it was for The Most Revd Justin Welby, the highest clergyperson in the Church of England, the Archbishop of Canterbury and Instrument of Communion to the 80+ million strong Anglican Communion. He was approached by the Telegraph prior to Easter regarding family history research about the Archbishop that the periodical had been conducting. They had hairs from a brush they had obtained from the late Sir Anthony Montague Browne’s widow. Sir Anthony had been private secretary to Sir Winston Churchill, former Prime Minister of Great Britain. According to the Bishop of Norwich, chair of the Archbishop’s Council, the Revd Graham James, +Justin had agreed to the paternity test to disprove the conjecture that Winston Churchill’s private secretary was his biological father. +Justin’s mother, the current Lady Jane Williams of Elvel, had been a secretary to Winston Church at the same time. And she later admitted to a brief affair with Sir Anthony just a short time before her hasty marriage in the United States to Gavin Welby.

+Justin’s parents welcomed his birth almost 9 month’s to the day after their 1955 marriage, and never suspected that he wasn’t the biological child of their marriage. His parents divorced in 1958. At the time of their marriage and in +Justin’s early childhood both of his parents were alcoholics and not always capable of caring for him properly as their child. Gavin Welby died in 1977. His mother entered treatment for alcoholism in 1968 and has maintained her sobriety since that successful intervention. She married +Justin’s stepfather, Charles Williams, in 1975. Lady Jane said that she found the news of +Justin’s paternity to be a total shock.

The Archbishop has published a response to the news on his Facebook page. The main image is from his Facebook page.
Lady Williams has responded to the news in an article in The Telegraph. The family photo is from that article.
The Bishop of Norwich was interviewed by the BBC.



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Ann Fontaine

Julian Fellowes is already thinking about it!

I felt a very human connection today to the ABC as we prayed our pro forma prayers for him and the PB, etc.

Paul Woodrum

I foresee a BBC mini-series in the near future: upper crust, politics, illicit love, boozy marriage, religion and out of a messy childhood, an archbishop.

Jos. S. Laughon

Someone once said there are no illegitimate children only illegitimate parents.

That being said, this must be a large shock to Welby’s sense of self. Our parish in LB have been praying for him.

Paul Woodrum

We don’t choose our parents. What makes the difference is how we live our lives.

Samuel Richards

In a week of Panama Papers and cover ups that have forced the resignation of Iceland’s prime minister and cast huge shadows over Britain’s, Archbishop Welby had the courage to accept reality without a cover-up. That’s something few leaders seem capable of doing in tough situations. Even more so, ++Welby seems to have put his mother’s well-being above his own in this situation. Kudos to him for having the courage to handle tough news in such a straightforward manner.

The journalist’s account of how the story developed also sheds light on the archbishop’s calm handling of the situation. That narrative can be viewed at:

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