Only an elite few can claim to have been wed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, but Mike Roberts has gone one step better – he’s married his daughter!
Former Bell Baxter High School pupil Mike (32) has tied the knot with Katharine Welby (27), daughter of the Most Rev. Justin Welby, in Canterbury Cathedral.
And the couple now live near the ‘in-laws’ in a flat within the magnificent surroundings of Lambeth Palace, the Archbishop’s London home.
Mike, an IT consultant from Dairsie, met his future bride through a mutual friend and fellow worshipper at an Anglican church in London.
It was at the time of the London riots and Katharine, now a charity worker, was then a police officer.
After a particularly gruelling 12-hour shift patrolling the streets of Hackney, she visited her friend’s house, where Mike was cooking supper.
He had moved from Dairsie to Shepherd’s Bush and was studying physics at Imperial College London.
The pair met up once a week at the pastorate group to which they both belonged – on a purely platonic basis, as Katharine was in a relationship at the time – and gradually became closer.
It was in 2012, at a weekend away with the group at a country house, that they realised love was in the air.
Mike then faced the daunting prospect of having to ask none other than the Archbishop of Canterbury for his permission to marry his daughter.
Uppermost in the mind of the Most Rev Selby was not Mike’s suitability, but how he would cope with Katharine’s ongoing depressive illness.
However, Katharine has nothing but praise for the support and sense of perspective he offers her.
Finding a window in her father’s diary and the cathedral’s schedule was a challenge, but finally the wedding plans came together and Katharine took the long walk up the aisle of the magnificent cathedral on the arm of her father’s stepfather in front of 200 guests.
Among them, of course, were Mike’s parents, Margaret and Bernard, who still live in Dairsie and are well-known in the local community.
“We were quite astounded when Michael announced he was marrying the Archbishop of Canterbury’s daughter,” said Margaret, a retired teacher.
“But we were very pleased and excited.
“We had a lovely day and the cathedral was absolutely beautiful.”
Also among the guests were Michael’s three brothers – Alastair, who lives in Glasgow; James, who’s now in Edinburgh, and younger brother Richard, who lives in Barcelona.
Katharine is one of five siblings, so the wedding was a real family affair.
Following the ceremony, a buffet lunch and a ceilidh were held in the cathedral grounds, followed by a sit-down meal for 50 close friends and family at the 11th century Old Palace, the Archbishop’s private lodgings.
The couple honeymooned on the Isle of Lewis.