Justin Welby, who is set to be unveiled as the new Archbishop of Canterbury later this morning, will oversee the consecration of the first woman bishop in his new role, the Times (£) reported.
The Bishop of Durham will be officially unveiled as the new Archbishop of Canterbury today.
The Rt Rev Justin Welby, an Eton-educated former oil industry executive, will become the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury and spiritual leader of the 77 million strong Anglican Communion.
He has not yet been officially named but after months of speculation, he has become the overwhelming front runner.
It is understood that Bishop Welby, the fourth most senior cleric in the Church of England, will be announced as the successor to Rowan Williams at Lambeth Palace this morning.
The announcement of the new Archbishop will be made tomorrow, Downing Street sources confirmed to the Press Association.
Bishop Welby has said that he is unable to comment on speculation about his appointment as the new Archbishop of Canterbury.
Speaking during a break in the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards inquiry, of which he is a committee member, he said:
I am not able to comment, only Lambeth Palace can.
A police officer at Portcullis House in Westminster, where the inquiry is being heard, congratulated the Bishop on his new post to which he laughed and raised his hands in defence.
- Rt Rev Welby's father was a businessman who traded in whisky during the prohibition years in America and then became an executive for a company that survived the alcohol ban by selling communion wine. He also knew the Kennedy family.
- His mother was Winston Churchill's private secretary. Rt Rev Welby is also related to Rab Butler, the former Conservative deputy prime minister.
- The 56-year-old and his wife Caroline have had six children. Their first born, seven-month-old Johanna, died in a car crash in France in 1983.
- He read law and history at Trinity College, Cambridge, before joining the oil industry. He was based in Paris and London, working on West African and North Sea projects.
- He became a group treasurer in a company called Enterprise Oil, before resigning in 1987 to train for the Anglican priesthood.
Rt Rev Welby's reported appointment as the next Archbishop of Canterbury sees him emerge beyond the early favourites for the post. The other leading contenders for the vacancy were:
- Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu.
- Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham James.
- Bishop of London, the Rt Rev Richard Chartres.
Dr Rowan Williams, who announced his exit in March after a decade in the post, will leave at the end of this year to become Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge.
The appointment of Rt Rev Welby as the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury and spiritual leader of the 77 million strong Anglican Communion will be seen as a meteoric rise in the career of the clergyman.
The Eton-educated bishop worked in the oil industry for 11 years before leaving to train for the Anglican priesthood. He was first ordained as a deacon in 1992.
He marks the first anniversary of his enthronement as Bishop of Durham later this month.