Wednesday 18 October 2017

Archbishop ‘illegitimate son of key Churchill aide’

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby as he met with actor Russell Crowe at Lambeth Palace
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby as he met with actor Russell Crowe at Lambeth Palace

Charles Moore and Gordon Rayner

The Archbishop of Canterbury has discovered he is the illegitimate son of Winston Churchill’s last private secretary after taking a DNA test to prove his paternity.

The Most Reverend Justin Welby had until now believed his father to be Gavin Welby, a whisky salesman and son of a Jewish immigrant, who was married briefly to his mother, Jane.

But ‘The Daily Telegraph’ pieced together evidence that suggested Archbishop Welby’s father was actually the late Anthony Montague Browne, who served Mr Churchill in Downing Street and during his retirement.

After the newspaper discussed its research with the archbishop, he decided to take a DNA test to settle the matter. His mouth swabs were compared with hair samples from Mr Montague Browne and showed a 99.9779pc probability that they were father and son.

Archbishop Welby (60) said the “revelation” of his true paternity had come as a “complete surprise”, but described it as “a story of redemption and hope”.

The archbishop’s mother, who married again and is now Lady Williams of Elvel, confirmed to her son that she had a liaison with Mr Montague Browne shortly before she married Mr Welby, though neither she nor Mr Welby had ever suspected there was a doubt about Justin’s paternity. Archbishop Welby, an only child, has also gained a half-sister, Jane, who is three years older than him.

Archbishop Welby said: “There is no existential crisis, and no resentment against anyone. My identity is founded in who I am in Christ.” (© Daily Telegraph, London) Comments Facility

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