Williams was the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury, Metropolitan of the Province of Canterbury and Primate of All England, offices he held from December 2002 to December 2012. He was previously the Bishop of Monmouth and Archbishop of Wales, making him the first Archbishop of Canterbury in modern times not to be appointed from within the Church of England.
Williams spent much of his earlier career as an academic at the universities of Cambridge and Oxford successively. He speaks three languages and reads at least nine.
Williams' primacy was marked by speculation that the Anglican Communion (in which the Archbishop of Canterbury is the leading figure) was on the verge of fragmentation. Williams worked to keep all sides talking to one another. Notable events during his time as Archbishop of Canterbury include the rejection by a majority of dioceses of his proposed Anglican Covenant and, in the final General Synod of his tenure, the failure to secure a sufficient majority for a measure to allow the appointment of women as bishops in the Church of England.
Williams stood down as Archbishop of Canterbury on 31 December 2012 to take up the position of Master of Magdalene College at Cambridge University in January 2013. Later in 2013 he was appointed Chancellor of the University of South Wales. He also delivered the Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh in 2013. Justin Welby succeeded him in the chair of St Augustine on 9 November 2012, being enthroned in March 2013. On 26 December 2012, 10 Downing St announced Williams' elevation to the peerage as a Life Baron, so that he could continue to speak in the Upper House of Parliament. Following the creation of his title on 8 January and its gazetting on 11 January 2013, he was introduced to the temporal benches of the House of Lords as Baron Williams of Oystermouth on 15 January 2013, sitting as a crossbencher.
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