Well, no, not really I think

The Archbishop’s mother, who married again and is now Lady Williams of Elvel, confirmed to her son that she had a liaison with Sir Anthony shortly before she married Welby, though neither she nor Welby had ever suspected there was a doubt about Justin’s paternity. In a statement last night, she said that the news had come as “an almost unbelievable shock”. Archbishop Welby, an only child, has also gained a half-sister, Jane, who is three years older than him.

The discovery gave Lambeth Palace cause to check canon law, as men born illegitimately were for centuries barred from becoming archbishops. A little-known change in the law dating to the Fifties removed that bar, leaving Archbishop Welby safe in his post.

Don’t we actually assume that a child born within marriage is legitimate as far as the law is concerned, whatever the actual story?

16 thoughts on “Well, no, not really I think”

  1. Normally, but not always, there’s an interesting case at the moment regarding a peerage, a genetic test (done for science research purposes by the now deceased grandfather) and a peerage granted by, I think, Charlie 2, that specifically states male descendents of his body, or similar. A cousin who is a male line genetic descendent is suing for title.

    But yeah, normally that’s the case.

  2. I don’t know – *we* don’t. But for us that status hasn’t got any legal ramifications for the child.

  3. “though neither she nor Welby had ever suspected there was a doubt about Justin’s paternity”

    Seriously? You shag a bloke a month, maybe even 2 before you get married and say, he’s born 7 maybe 8 months after, and you don’t think there’s any doubt? Doesn’t everyone know the likely maximum terms and whether it’s within that?

  4. The Meissen Bison

    I seem to remember that controversial paternity issues surrounded Welby’s boss so he’s following an honourable and tested tradition.

  5. I think the assumption that needs to be checked first is where the Archbishop’s birth date falls in relation to his mother’s marriage date.

    34 – 39 weeks is the normal range, at least in the US. That’s a range of approximately 8-10 months – though a minimum of 37 is considered ‘full-term’ – biological processes, like trains, do not run on time.

  6. Welby was not “Born out of wedlock” and so is not illegitimate. You think the Church would understand it’s own bloody rules, for crissake.

  7. So Much For Subtlety

    Clergymen are such gutless, spineless wonders these days that having a bastard in charge would be an improvement.

  8. Moore said on the wireless this morning she had a drunken ‘liason’ with the father the day before she eloped to the US, so it was always assumed young Justin was a honeymoon baby.

  9. So Much For Subtlety

    Jimmers – “Moore said on the wireless this morning she had a drunken ‘liason’ with the father the day before she eloped to the US, so it was always assumed young Justin was a honeymoon baby.”

    Well that is an interesting defence – “My son is not a bastard, I am a drunken slut”.

  10. Rocco,

    “So he was born just over 39 weeks after the marriage. No wonder they had no suspicions”

    OK, I can understand having few suspicions, that it’s probably his, but none? 41 weeks isn’t that rare. If it was a month before they got married, you’re into some very low probability, but has happened (375 days is the longest pregnancy)

  11. What’s the meta-story here – why are we being told this? Is Welby just shouting that he’s really, definitely not Jewish? Methinks he doth protest too much: nobody really gave a monkey’s.

  12. Stigler,

    Odd things happen but not many people live their lives as if they are forensics on CSI. How many people touched your doorframe yesterday?

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