EPHRAIM HARDCASTLE: Was the new Archbishop of Canterbury born out of wedlock



10:14 GMT, 28 November 2012

Apropos the next Archbishop of Canterbury, 56-year-old Old Etonian Justin Welby, did his roguish late father, Gavin Welby, obtain a divorce from his American first wife Doris Sturzenegger before eloping to Baltimore in 1955 with Jane Portal, Justin’s mother

‘If not, any issue from the second marriage are illegitimate and can’t become a Church of England bishop,’ according to a source. But a Lambeth Palace spokesman disagrees, telling me: ‘Canon law says no person can be refused consecration as a bishop on the grounds that he was born out of lawful wedlock.’

The New Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby may have an issue on his hands

The New Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby was announced as the successor to Dr Rowan Williams earlier this year

Having failed to persuade David Cameron and other leaders to back an inflation-busting new EU budget, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy posts a melancholy ‘haiku’ poem on his official Twitter account. ‘The night has fallen / The bare branches can be seen / Even more lonely.’ Does it work better in Rompuy’s Flemish lingo

Screen villain Steven Berkoff, pictured, won a civil libel action against vituperative journalist Julie Burchill in 1996 after she called him ‘hideously ugly’. Recalling the row in a Sky Arts interview, Berkoff says: ‘Every now and again I would do something and this harridan would say, “Berkoff is this, Berkoff is that – God how ugly he is”, and I ignored it.

I thought, “Why pay attention to harridans any more” It’s as if some kind of decayed, rancid old dog would bark at you and you bark back. Ignore the bitch. But then it went on and so I went to a lawyer and he said, “This is unacceptable”.’ Sounds such a reasonable fellow, doesn’t he

BBC Trust chairman Chris Patten and new Director-General Tony Hall both have life peerages – the first a consolation prize for losing his Tory parliamentary seat in Bath, the second for making a success of the Royal Opera House after retiring from the BBC.

But will Mark Thompson and George Entwistle get knighthoods, the usual retirement gift for ex-DGs Both say they knew nothing of the Jimmy Savile scandal.

And Entwistle additionally knew nothing about Newsnight’s unjustified attack on Lord McAlpine. But would any Director-General over the past 40 years have got his ‘K’ if he’d admitted hearing of what BBC star Savile was doing, sometimes on Corporation premises

Upon meeting actress Lynda Bellingham, 64, at a No 10 reception, and recognising her from the famous Bisto TV ads, Prime Minister David Cameron enthusiastically exclaimed: ‘Oh gosh! We all wish you’d been our mother and made the gravy.’

A less-than-impressed Miss Bellingham, pictured, says: ‘Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t take offence. But I felt he could have moved on a bit. I’ve done lots of other things in my career and there was a bit of me that wished maybe I could now be remembered for being a Calendar Girl.’ Perhaps Cameron should have said: ‘Oh gosh, we loved seeing you starkers in Calendar Girls!’