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From Canterbury to Rome: Why the Queen’s Former Chaplain Became Catholic

WALSINGHAM, England — Just before Christmas 2019, news swept across the internet and the airwaves that Queen Elizabeth’s former Anglican chaplain, Gavin Ashenden, had converted to Catholicism.

For nine years, from 2008 to 2017, Ashenden was one of the Anglican chaplains assigned to the queen. On Dec. 22, 2019, the Fourth Sunday of Advent, at Shrewsbury Cathedral, Bishop Mark Davies received Ashenden into the Catholic Church.

The Register met Ashenden in February 2020 at Walsingham, England’s chief Marian shrine. He had visited Walsingham only once, many decades earlier, when training to become an Anglican clergyman. Now, he came on pilgrimage as a Catholic layman, whose decision to convert had made his immediate future uncertain.

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