The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has discovered that his biological father was the former private secretary to Britain’s war-time leader Winston Churchill, reports Reuters on the Religion News Service.
“In the last month I have discovered that my biological father is not Gavin Welby, but in fact, the late Sir Anthony Montague Browne,” Archbishop Welby, 60, said on his official website on Friday.
“This comes as a complete surprise,” he added.
Archbishop Welby, the spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion consisting of some 85 million Christians globally, said his mother, Jane Williams, and his late father, Gavin Welby, were both alcoholics when he was a child. His mother has “not touched alcohol for over 48 years,” he added.
Archbishop Welby’s mother, now married again as Lady Williams of Elvel, said in a statement that she and her husband had a “short dysfunctional marriage” and that DNA evidence of her son’s paternity was “an almost unbelievable shock.”
“Although my recollection of events is patchy, I now recognise that during the days leading up to my very sudden marriage, and fuelled by a large amount of alcohol on both sides, I went to bed with Anthony Montague Browne. It appears that the precautions taken at the time didn’t work and my wonderful son was conceived as a result of this liaison,” her statement added.
Williams said her son was born nine months after her marriage to Welby in 1955, adding that the marriage ended in 1958.
The DNA tests were taken after The Telegraph newspaper in Britain gathered evidence to suggest Browne was Archbishop Welby’s father, the newspaper said on its website.