Williams: Risking unpopularity key to Archbishop role

The outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury has warned his successor that "risking unpopularity" is a crucial part of the job.

Dr Rowan Williams, who leaves the post tomorrow, said, "Risking unpopularity, taking the flak, is what Archbishops are here for - it is the stuff of the job".

Dr Rowan Williams pictured delivering his final Christmas day sermon as Archbishop of Canterbury Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

"It is something you realise the more you work here, that maybe Britain benefits from having someone to get angry with, and that compared to my predecessors I have got off lightly”, he said in an interview for BBC Two documentary Goodbye to Canterbury, according to The Daily Telegraph.

Dr Williams was often criticised throughout his tenure for being outspoken. In 2008, the Archbishop's comments that the adoption of some aspects of Islamic Sharia law "seems unavoidable" were condemned by many.

His successor, Bishop of Durham the Rt. Rev. Justin Welby, will take over the post in March.