Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby longs for family reunion and a drink post-lockdown

Watch the full interview with the Archbishop of Canterbury


The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has spoken of the UK's wartime spirit as he looks back on the past year.

In an interview with ITV News Meridian presenter Sangeeta Bhabra, ahead of the Easter celebrations, Justin Welby said he is looking forward to spending time with his children, grandchildren and friends when lockdown ends.


I'm most looking forward to seeing my grandchildren, children and friends properly, going out for a drink, chilling with people I know and love. Being able to shake hands, lots of things.

Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby

The Archbishop described this time in our history as a "moment of extraordinary challenge for us as a country and for the church".

He said: "I think for both, this is a moment of choice. I think the last year has shown us inequalities, it's stripped the paper off the cracks in our society.

"We've seen that if you're an ethnic minority, if you're in poor housing, if you're poor, you just stood much higher chance of being ill and indeed dying.

"We have a choice. Do we go back to the kind of place we were? That's the default if we don't make another choice, that's the choice we're making.

"Or do we as we did in 1945 say we're going to build something that's better, a Britain that's better, more for the flourishing of everyone and does the church look forward and say what have we learned, we are going to go forward differently."

The Archbishop said he is feeling "hopeful" about the vaccination programme

The Archbishop said that "in very many places" the pandemic has led to more community.

"Social media has come into its own. One of our children, started a WhatsApp group along their street and the way that has gathered people together is extraordinary. You could find 100,000 examples like that."

The Archbishop said he feels "hopeful" about the Covid-19 vaccination programme, and urges anyone who is hesitant, should not "have doubts" and just "get it done".

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex on their wedding day Credit: Ben Stansall/PA

When asked about when he married the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in 2018, the Archbishop said: "I feel a huge sense of sympathy".

"Every family has complicated moments, not every family has to do them on the front page of every newspaper on Earth.

"I would say to people don't judge, don't comment on social media, pray for them, pray for other families you know having their ups and downs, but don't interfere.

"These are human beings, and human beings who serve us with the most extraordinary courage and faithfulness."

The Archbishop has received his Covid vaccine Credit: Archbishop of Canterbury

The Archbishop is planning study leave later this year.

Despite this, he said he is "going to be around and in contact with people the whole time".

He says he will hopefully be "writing and studying a book on how we build reconciliation in our society, thinking through a bit more about what I do in the next few years, and what the ministry of the churches do in the next few years".

"I'm not throwing away my mobile phone. When people need to get hold of me they'll be able to get hold of me exactly the same as they did if I was sitting in my study in Lambeth."

The Archbishop gave his message to the public this Easter: "The message I would want to give is, recognise how hard the year has been, share that with those whom you love and love you, take hold of the hope that Easter offers and know that in that hope, death, disease, trouble is never the final word. The final words are the hope and love of God."