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Justin Welby arrives in Canterbury

Justin Welby arrives. Credit: Derek Johnson

Religious leaders from across the globe are set to join royalty and senior politicians for the enthronement of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The Most Rev Justin Welby will formally begin his public ministry as head of the Church of England, spiritual leader of the 77-million strong Anglican Communion and 105th Archbishop of Canterbury at a service in Canterbury Cathedral.

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall as well as Prime Minister David Cameron will be among around 2,000 people attending the ceremony.

Those also in the congregation will include representatives of major world religions including Muslims, Jews and Sikhs and senior figures from the Roman Catholic and orthodox churches.

The event marks the formal reception of the Most Rev Welby, 57, at Canterbury, the mother church of the Church of England and of the Anglican Communion.

Welby believes there will be a female archbishop

The Most Rev Justin Welby said he believes a woman will one day be made archbishop and added that some gay couples have loving relationships of "stunning quality", ahead of today's enthronement.

The Most Rev Justin Welby speaking ahead of the vote on women bishops in November 2012. Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire

The head of the Church of England told Channel 5 News he thought there would be a female archbishop one day in spite of the defeat of women bishops legislation last November.

Pressed on the timing, he said: "Oh, I have no idea...when the right person turns up. But, yes, I think there certainly will."

In a separate interview with BBC News, the Most Rev Welby backed traditional Church teaching on homosexuality but said: "You see gay relationships that are just stunning in the quality of the relationship."

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Welby's 'profound thanks' ahead of enthronement

The Most Rev Justin Welby has given his "profound thanks" to everyone preparing for his enthronement as the Archbishop of Canterbury.