Archbishop Justin Welby is the officiant today for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Royal Wedding. If you’re wondering how Welby has a wife and children, it’s because he’s the most senior bishop within the Church of England, not the Catholic Church. Church of England priests are also allowed to marry. Welby is married to Caroline Welby and they have six children. But their life is not without tragedy. One of their children died in a car crash in 1983. Here is everything you need to know about Welby’s wife and children.
1. Justin Welby & His Wife Caroline Met at the University of Cambridge & Now They Have Five Living Children
Justin and Caroline met at the University of Cambridge, where he was studying history and law. They have six children: Tim, 28; Peter, 23; Katherine, 26; Eleanor, 20; and Hannah, 17. All of their children attended state schools. Today, Katherine works for a London Christian charity.
Welby has always said his relationship with his children is paramount, adding that if one of his children were gay, he would attend their wedding, Daily Mail reported. “‘I would say, ‘I will always love you, full stop. End of sentence, end of paragraph.’ Whatever they say, I will say I always love them.'”
2. Their Seven-Month Old Daughter Died in a Car Crash in 1983, Which Reminded Him that the Only Certainty in Life is Christ
Justin and Caroline’s beloved daughter, Johanna, died in a car crash in France in 1983 when she was only seven moths old. She was their oldest child. His wife, Caroline, was in the passenger seat, traveling through Paris with a friend. Johanna was in the back seat in a carrycot, he told Telegraph. He didn’t explain what caused the crash, but said that Johanna was in the hospital and died five days later.
“It was a constant reminder of the uncertainty in life,” he said. “The only certainty in this life is Christ — everything else is contention.”
He also said the tragedy brought them closer to God. The important thing, he said, is to celebrate the person and remember them with love. “In other words, attack the day so it does not attack you.”
“It was a very dark time for my wife Caroline and myself, but in a strange way it actually brought us closer to God,” he said. But he never attempts to answer why God allows suffering, he told Telegraph. He simply points out that Jesus “died on the cross as a young man, unjustly, unfairly.”
3. He Said the Crash Played a Pivotal Role in Moving Him into His Ministry Role
At the time of his daughter’s death, Welby was working as an executive of an oil company, but he was also the lay leader of a church in London. He studied theology from 1989 to 1992, but always felt like God was calling him. His daughter’s death played a role in moving him in that direction.
After he left his six figure career, he and his family had a tough time surviving on his junior clergyman salary. But because he had his wife’s full support, he was able to stick with the decision.
4. His Son Peter Welby Attended College in Egypt & Got Engaged After the Riots
Peter Welby attended college in Egypt, Telegraph reported. Some were worried the distance would hurt his relationship with Jen Bates. But instead, he ended up proposing to her shortly after a military coup in 2013 that overthrew the government. He proposed when he returned to Britain for vacation, while she was studying at Oxford.
Peter and Jen were married at Canterbury Cathedral in January 2014. Three months later, his daughter Katherine married Michael Roberts.
5. His Daughter Katherine Struggled with Depression
Katherine Welby Roberts has struggled with depression, Telegraph reported. She struggled with suicidal thoughts but didn’t turn to her family and still can’t quite explain why. She said she would have never acted on her suicidal thoughts because of the people who cared for and loved her. She said she suffered with depression and anxiety for more than 10 years, along with chronic fatigue syndrome.
She was first diagnosed with depression at 19, and her now-husband Michael helped her a great deal, she said. She also found help when she finally opened up to her mom, she said. In 2016, she gave birth to Elijah, named after the biblical prophet.