Old Cardinal’s New Tricks

Retiring archbishop learns to fend for himself in his Chiswick kitchen

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Following the announcement of his successor as Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor will soon be moving into his Dukes Avenue ‘retirement home.’ The 76 year old will become the first Archbishop to retire from the position since the post was established more than 150 years ago - all his predecessors died in office.

The Cardinal is currently saying his long goodbye after nine years in the role and was recently visited by the Queen for a farewell lunch. Accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, the Queen spent an hour and a half at Archbishop's House in Westminster, first attending a reception for 60 staff, and then having lunch with the cardinal and three of the nuns who have helped him with domestic chores at Westminster.

However life in Chiswick will be very different even with its thriving Catholic community, two churches and three convents not to mention the renowned abundance of restaurants. But the Cardinal is approaching his retirement, and his new kitchen duties, with confidence after taking instruction in the art of cooking from acclaimed chef Giorgio Locatelli. The Italian is said to have promised that were the Cardinal to hit a snag with a tricky white sauce or obstinate meringue, he only had to ring to ask advice.

April 24, 2009