Who is Justin Welby? Archbishop of Canterbury convicted of speeding days after coronation
Just a few days after officiating over King Charles III's coronation, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has been found guilty of speeding.
On October 2, while the 67-year-old was driving his Volkswagen Golf along the Albert Embankment in the heart of London towards his official house at Lambeth Palace, he was caught by a speed camera. It recorded a speed of 25 mph in a 20 mph zone.
The Most Rev Welby was prosecuted on Wednesday (May 10) at a secret hearing and received three penalty points and was told to pay £510. The conviction and penalty occurred on the same day as the Archbishop's attention-grabbing House of Lords speech protesting against the government's Illegal Migration Bill.
Speaking in the House of Lords, Welby has attacked the Government’s Illegal Immigration Bill, labelling it “isolationist, morally unacceptable, and politically impractical”, and saying it risks “great damage” to the UK’s reputation.
“[The bill] is isolationist, it is morally unacceptable and politically impractical to let the poorest countries deal with it alone and cut our international aid,” he said. This is an attempt at a short-term fix. It risks great damage to the UK’s interests and reputation at home and abroad, let alone the interests of those in need of protection or the nations who together face this challenge.”
Rishi Sunak and Suella Braverman’s bill is facing scrutiny from peers in the House of Lords.
It is not the first time the Archbishop has criticised the Government’s immigration policy, previously labelling the Rwanda deportation policy “ungodly” and saying the rhetoric of ministers was “harmful”.
So who is Justin Welby, and what is the role of the Archbishop of Canterbury?
Who is Justin Welby?
Justin Portal Welby, 67, has been the Archbishop of Canterbury since 2013. He studied at Eton College and Trinity College, Cambridge, before working in the oil industry for 11 years.
Mr Welby was ordained in 1992 and spent his first 15 years serving in Coventry. He became a canon of Coventry Cathedral in 2002 and, during this time, he worked in Africa and the Middle East.
He was Dean of Liverpool from 2007 to 2011, and Bishop of Durham from 2011 to 2012, before becoming the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Upon becoming archbishop, he said: “There is every possible reason for optimism about the future of Christian faith in our world and in this country.”
His personal priorities for his ministry are a renewal of prayer and religious life, seeking reconciliation within the church, and encouraging every Christian to share their faith.
Mr Welby is married to Caroline, with whom he has five children. A sixth child, Johanna, died aged seven months in 1983.
Growing up, he believed his biological father to be Gavin Welby, the son of German Jewish immigrants. However, in 2016, he revealed that DNA testing showed his biological father was Sir Anthony Montague Browne, who was a private secretary to Sir Winston Churchill.
Mr Welby lives at Lambeth Palace, which is his official London residence.
What is the Archbishop of Canterbury’s role?
Justin Welby is the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury, a role that has existed since the year 597. Mr Welby succeeded Rowan Williams, who retired in December 2012.
The Archbishop of Canterbury is a senior member of the House of Lords.
He is one of 26 bishops of the Church of England, and is considered to be the senior bishop. He is viewed by the Anglican Communion of churches as their spiritual leader.
The Archbishop of Canterbury is often involved in royal ceremonies. Most recently, Mr Welby officiated King Charles III’s coronation on May 6 at Westminster Abbey.
He also officiated Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding in 2018, gave a sermon at the Queen’s funeral in 2022, and christened Prince William and Kate’s children, George, Charlotte, and Louis, in 2013, 2015 and 2018 respectively.