Archbishop of Canterbury Learns He Had a Secret Father

His mom had a "liaison"
By Luke Roney,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 11, 2016 8:46 AM CDT
Archbishop of Canterbury Learns He Had a Secret Father
The Archbishop of Canterbury during a service inside Canterbury Cathedral.   (AP Photo/Phil Toscano, File)

The Archbishop of Canterbury just found out that, rather than being conceived in marriage, he is the product of a "liaison" his mother had with Winston Churchill's private secretary. But the revelation hasn't been too much of a shake-up for the Most Reverend Justin Welby. "There is no existential crisis. My identity is founded in who I am in Christ," he tells the Telegraph, which had collected evidence that put Welby's father as the late Anthony Montague Browne and not, as believed, Gavin Welby. The 60-year-old archbishop agreed to end the speculation by providing an oral swab for a DNA test. DNA for Montague Browne, who died in 2013, came from hair taken from a brush kept by his widow. The result: there is a 99.98% probability that Montague Browne and Welby are father and son.

In a statement, per the Guardian, Welby's mom, 86-year-old Lady Williams of Elvel (formerly Jane Welby) confirmed the affair with Montague Browne, but she said the news that he fathered her son was a surprise, saying neither she nor Gavin Welby "ever doubted that we were the parents of our son Justin." Justin Welby, who has gained a half-sister, characterizes the circumstances as "a story of redemption and hope." His mother has been a recovering alcoholic since 1968. She says she began boozing to cope with stress during her tumultuous marriage to the heavy-drinking senior Welby. "I know that I find who I am in Jesus Christ, not in genetics, and my identity in him never changes," the archbishop tells the Telegraph. The news raised a momentary question as to whether he could retain his position, as for centuries, men born illegitimately could not be archbishops in the Church of England. That prohibition, however, was reversed in the 1950s. (Read more Church of England stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.