The Archbishop of Canterbury has learnt that the former private secretary to Sir Winston Churchill is his biological father, he said in a statement Friday. Justin Welby said he found out the truth about his real father after a DNA test.
“In the last month I have discovered that my biological father is not Gavin Welby, but in fact, the late Sir Anthony Montague Browne,” Justin Welby, 60, said on his official website. “This comes as a complete surprise.”
In a statement issued through Lambeth Palace, Justin Welby said that his parents — mother Jane Williams and father Gavin Welby — were both alcoholics and their addictions made his early life messy. He said that his father died as a result of the alcohol and smoking in 1977 when the Archbishop of Canterbury was 21.
"My mother has been in recovery since 1968, and has not touched alcohol for over 48 years. I am enormously proud of her," Justin Welby wrote.
Welby's mother Lady Williams of Elvel, confirmed that she had a "liaison" with Browne just before she got married in 1955.
"Although my recollection of events is patchy, I now recognize 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," Jane Williams said in a statement, adding that her son was born nine months after her marriage to Welby in 1955, adding that the marriage ended in 1958.
Williams said that the result of the DNA test, which stated that Gavin Welby was not Justin Welby's biological father "has come as an almost unbelievable shock."
Justin Welby decided to take the DNA tests after Britain’s Telegraph gathered evidence to suggest Browne was Welby’s father, the newspaper said.