Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby talked in detail about the British royal family in an unprecedented interview and said that being a royal is like serving a life sentence without parole.
In a recent interview with the Financial Times, Welby noted that the public expects members of the Royal Family to be "superhuman." "It's life without parole, isn't it?" the Archbishop said about the life of a member of the royal family.
The Most Reverend also sympathised with Prince Harry, who quit royal duties with his wife Meghan Markle last year, and warned the Duke that he will never escape being a "celeb."
"If you go back to the 1930s, Edward VIII — he was still a celeb and followed everywhere once he'd abdicated," he said.
Welby's sympathetic comments come just weeks after he denied marrying the Sussexes in private three days before their royal wedding at Windsor Castle, contrary to the claims the couple made in their explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey. After his latest statements, the Archbishop is facing backlash from royal experts, who claim he is just trying to make amends with the royal couple, reports Mail Online.
Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliam said the archbishop was trying "to show as much sympathy with Harry and Meghan as he can, especially since he has had to deny having them married twice." Royal author Phil Dampier also criticised the clergyman for "tending to stray into politics" and accused him of "jumping on a woke bandwagon which he might think will attract younger people to the church."
Dampier also warned that Welby's comments will not be appreciated by older churchgoers, and said he should have consulted Queen Elizabeth II, who is "theoretically his boss" as the head of the Church of England before making such sweeping comments. Meanwhile, Dickie Arbiter, the Queen's former press secretary, asked whether the 65-year-old was comparing royal service to a jail term.
"I find it extraordinary that he would compare service to parole. I'm not sure what he means," Arbiter said.
Apart from the royal family, Welby also broke his silence on the criticism he faced from parishioners when churches remained closed last Easter due to the coronavirus pandemic. He said: "I didn't push hard enough to keep churches available for at least individual prayer in the first lockdown. We also said clergy couldn't go in, and personally I feel I made a mistake with that. I can make all kinds of excuses. I still think I was too risk-averse."