Rose Hudson-Wilkin

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The Reverend Prebendary
Rose Hudson-Wilkin
Priest in Charge of St Mary-at-Hill
Keith Palmer's funeral (002) (cropped, Rose Hudson-Wilkin).jpg
Hudson-Wilkin in April 2017
Diocese Diocese of London
In office October 2014–present
Other posts Chaplain to the Queen (since 2008)
Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons (since 2010)
Priest-Vicar of Westminster Abbey (since 2010)
Ordination 1991 (deacon)
1994 (priest)
Personal details
Birth name Rose Josephine Hudson
Born (1961-01-19) 19 January 1961 (age 56)
Montego Bay, Jamaica
Spouse Ken Wilkin
Children Three
Education Montego Bay High School

Rose Josephine Hudson-Wilkin (born 19 January 1961) is a Church of England priest. Since November 2014, she has been Priest in Charge of St Mary-at-Hill, City of London.[1] She additionally holds the roles of Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons, priest vicar at Westminster Abbey and chaplain to the Queen.[2] She was previously vicar of Holy Trinity Church, Dalston and All Saints Church, Haggerston.[3] She has been tipped as likely to be among the first cohort of women to become bishops in the Church of England.[4][5]

Early life[edit]

Born in Montego Bay, Jamaica, Hudson-Wilkin was raised by her father and aunt Pet, her mother having left for England when she was born. She did not meet her mother again until she was nine.[6] She was educated at Montego Bay High School, an all-girls secondary school in Montego Bay.[7][8] She was 14 when she decided to join the ministry and, in a 2012 interview in the Daily Telegraph, she said: "I simply had this overwhelming sense that this was what I was called to do."[9]

Religious life[edit]

In 1982, Hudson-Wilkin travelled to the UK to train at the Church Army college in the West Midlands.[2][9] In 1991, having completed the West Midlands Ministerial Training Course, she was ordained in the Church of England as a deacon. From 1991 to 1994, she served as the parish deacon of St Matthew's Church, Wolverhampton. She was ordained a priest in 1994, in the first year that the Church of England ordained women to the priesthood. Remaining at St Matthew's Church, she served her curacy from 1994 to 1995.[10]

From 1995 to 1998, she was assistant curate of St Andrew's Church, West Bromwich. During this time, she also worked with the Committee on Black Anglican Concern.[10] It was founded after the Faith in the City report was published in 1985 and worked to combat racism in the Church of England.[11] It has since been replaced by the Committee for Minority Ethnic Anglican Concerns.[12]

In 1998, she took up the role as vicar of Holy Trinity Church, Dalston and All Saints Church, Haggerston, an inner-city parish in Hackney, London.[10] She was appointed Chaplain to the Queen in 2008.[9] In 2010, she was appointed Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons in addition to her parish work.[2] In March 2013, she was made a prebendary of St Paul's Cathedral in recognition of "her service to the Church, community and most recently as Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons".[13] In October 2014, it was announced that she was to become Priest in Charge of St Mary-at-Hill, City of London. She moved to her new parish in November 2014, while maintaining her additional appointments.[1]

Public attention[edit]

After taking up her parish role in Hackney, Hudson-Wilkin staged a rooftop protest on the church with her curate to highlight the need for funds to repair the fabric of the building.[9] Speaking on Desert Island Discs in January 2014, she said that with so much development going on in Hackney, she was trying to draw attention to the plight of the church, which had a leaking roof, adding that she wished she would stay a little longer on the roof as the protest attracted donations for its repair.[14]

Hudson-Wilkin came to wider attention as the first black female to hold the role of Queen's chaplain.[15] When she was appointed to the Commons some people alleged that this was an act of political correctness on the part of the Speaker John Bercow. Ultimately, the traditional role was split in two with Hudson-Wilkin remaining in her Hackney parish and attending to the Commons via daily prayers and services in St Mary Undercroft, while Andrew Tremlett took up the post of Canon of Westminster and rector of St Margaret's, Westminster.[16][17]

In an interview in The Observer a year after her appointment to the Commons, Hudson-Wilkin commented that she would like to see a more civil attitude among MPs: "That's my secret prayer actually: the world is looking on and I just believe that I would like to see a change there in the way they handle listening to each other and the way they speak to each other."[18] Hudson-Wilkin has updated the traditional 17th-century prayers before parliamentary debates by introducing mention of topical events, also saying a prayer on behalf of International Women's Day in 2010 that reportedly attracted complaints to the Speaker by some MPs.[18]

A critic of what she has described as institutional racism in the church, she has also spoken on the subject of gay marriage, telling The Times that the church is "obsessed with sex" and there are many more important issues.[4]

During her interview on Desert Island Discs, Hudson-Wilkin was asked about the proposed ordination of women as bishops and said: "I believe that we hold certain prejudices about certain things and we believe them to be true…What I want is for people to be open to the possibilities that their minds might be changed." She added: "I think the church has been the poorer actually for not having the gifts of women – men and women – in its leadership."[14]

In an episode of the BBC program The Big Questions aired January 2015, discussing the lack of legal recognition for humanist marriages, Hudson-Wilkin repeatedly characterised humanists as "anti-religion" and expressed bewilderment that humanists would want to get married, saying "Marriage is a sacred act. We see it as a gift from God, so it is not something we think anybody just gets up and, stands in front, and says I’m marrying you. If humanists are anti-religion I don’t understand why you want to keep and do all of the things that religion does."[19] She also stated that she did not know if she would attend a humanist wedding as it was outside her conception of what a wedding actually was.[20]

Personal life[edit]

Hudson-Wilkin met her husband Ken Wilkin when she was training at the Church Army College. He is chaplain to Downview prison and the couple have two daughters and a son.[9]


  1. ^ a b "Clergy Moves October 2014". Diocese of London. 20 October 2014. Retrieved 17 January 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c "Revd Rose Hudson-Wilkin". Church of England. Retrieved 21 March 2014. 
  3. ^ Mohammed, Syma (24 January 2014). "Senior female Hackney church figures refute rumours they are being tipped for top church role". Hackney Gazette. Retrieved 21 March 2014. 
  4. ^ a b "Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin, First Black Female Chaplain To Queen Hits Out Over Women Bishops, Gay Marriage". The Huffington Post. 22 December 2012. Retrieved 21 March 2014. 
  5. ^ Moore, Suzanne (21 November 2012). "The Church of England can no longer continue as an arm of the state". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 March 2014. 
  6. ^ Simpson, Trudy (16 March 2008). "A rose in the Queen's garden". Jamaica Gleaner. Retrieved 21 March 2014. 
  7. ^ "Chaplain to Queen of England, House of Commons honoured by MoBay High Alumnae Association". Jamican Observer. 8 October 2015. Retrieved 10 December 2015. 
  8. ^ "School History". Montego Bay High School International Alumnae Association. Retrieved 10 December 2015. 
  9. ^ a b c d e Moreton, Cole (5 February 2012). "Rose Hudson-Wilkin: could she be the Right Rev?". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 21 March 2014. 
  10. ^ a b c "R. J. Hudson-Wilkin". Crockford's Clerical Directory (online ed.). Church House Publishing. Retrieved 30 November 2015.  (subscription required)
  11. ^ Parsons, Gerald. The Growth of Religious Diversity: Traditions. 1993: Psychology Press. p. 262. ISBN 0415083265. 
  12. ^ "Minority Ethnic Anglican Concerns". Home and Community Affairs. Church of England. Retrieved 16 April 2015. 
  13. ^ "New Prebendaries installed at special St Paul's". St Paul's Cathedral. 6 March 2013. Retrieved 9 December 2015. 
  14. ^ a b "Desert Island Discs". BBC Desert Island Discs. Retrieved 21 March 2014. 
  15. ^ "Jamaican woman appointed Queen Elizabeth's chaplain". Jamaica Gleaner. 27 January 2008. Retrieved 21 March 2014. 
  16. ^ Walters, Simon (26 June 2010). "Speaker snubs Church to appoint first black Vicar of Westminster". Daily Mail. Retrieved 21 March 2014. 
  17. ^ "The Reverend Andrew Tremlett, Canon of Westminster". Westminster Abbey. Retrieved 21 March 2014. 
  18. ^ a b Boffey, Daniel (27 November 2011). "First female Commons chaplain tells laddish MPs: grow up, boys". The Observer. Retrieved 21 March 2014. 
  19. ^ "The Demonic Humanists and the Insecure Christians". 11 January 2015. Retrieved 24 November 2016. 
  20. ^ "On BBC TV, Christian Says Humanists Are Debauched and Their Weddings Are “Demonic,” Then Throws in… Pol Pot". Retrieved 24 November 2016. 

External sources[edit]