Graham Douglas Leonard KCVO (8 May 1921 – 6 January 2010[1]) was a British cleric. He was formerly a bishop of the Church of England (Anglican) but became a Roman Catholic after his retirement.

Early life

Leonard was educated at Monkton Combe School and Balliol College, Oxford. He was commissioned into the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry during the Second World War,[2] before attending Westcott House, Cambridge. He was ordained deacon in 1947 and priest the following year.

Early ministry

Before becoming the Bishop of Willesden he was the Rector of St Andrew Undershaft with St Mary Axe in the City of London and the Archdeacon of Hampstead. He was appointed the Bishop of Willesden in 1964.[3]


Leonard had three episcopal positions in the Church of England, firstly as the Suffragan Bishop of Willesden in the Diocese of London and later as the Bishop of Truro (1973 to 1981)[4][5] and the Bishop of London (1981 to 1991).[6][7] During this last period he was Dean of the Chapel Royal,[8] a Royal Household office, for which he was appointed Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (KCVO).[9] He was also Prelate of the Order of the British Empire.[10]

Ordination in the Roman Catholic Church

An outspoken critic of moves to ordain women to the priesthood within the Anglican Communion, after his retirement Leonard eventually left the Church of England to become a Roman Catholic. On 23 April 1994 he was conditionally ordained as a priest (but not as a bishop) in the Roman Catholic Church. Although the Roman Catholic Church still does not officially recognise the validity of Anglican ordinations, Leonard's ordination was conditional due to there being "prudent doubt" about the invalidity of his previous ordination in the Church of England.[11] Leonard claimed that he was not firstly also ordained a deacon and has said that the Pope's personal instruction was that he should be ordained immediately to the priesthood 'sub conditione'. He was later appointed a papal chaplain with the title Monsignor and then a prelate of honour by Pope John Paul II on 3 August 2000.


Leonard was the brother-in-law to the late academic Michael Swann (Lord Swann of Coln St Denys) and Hugh Swann, cabinet maker to Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, having married their sister, Priscilla Swann. He and his wife had two sons.


External links

Church of England titles
Preceded by
George Ernest Ingle
Bishop of Willesden
Succeeded by
Geoffrey Hewlett Thompson
Preceded by
John Maurice Key
Bishop of Truro
Succeeded by
Peter Mumford
Preceded by
Gerald Ellison
Bishop of London
Succeeded by
David Hope
hu:Graham Leonardro:Graham Leonard

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