14 April 2016, The Tablet

For a story of adultery and the Primate of All England, the report was a model of propriety


 

The face of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, looked out from the top half of the The Daily Telegraph front page on Saturday beside a big headline: “My secret father”. Coverage of this exclusive filled six more pages. The archbishop’s real father, it emerged, was Winston Churchill’s last private secretary, Sir Anthony Montague Browne.

For a story of adultery, drunkenness and the Primate of All England, the report, recounted by Charles Moore, the official biographer of Margaret Thatcher, was a model of propriety. The archbishop was told in private of the discovery of his parentage, agreed it was a news story and readily assented to its confirmation by a DNA test.

So it was that the archbishop sat in his study overlooking the garden of Lambeth Palace and swabbed the inside of his cheek 10 times with a couple of cotton buds, which were then put into a sealed container by Mr Moore for a DNA expert to analyse. “I admired his courageous matter of factness and lack of pomposity,” the journalist wrote.

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