Right Reverend Sarah Mullally has been appointed the first female Bishop of London, becoming the most senior woman in the Church of England.
The Queen approved the nomination of the 55-year-old former chief nursing officer to succeed the Right Rev Richard Chartres, Downing Street announced today.
The role is the third most senior position in the Church of England, behind the Archbishops of Canterbury and York.
Mullally’s appointment comes just three years after the church officially accepted women as bishops following a long campaign for equality.
The first female bishop - the Rt Rev Libby Lane - was consecrated as the Bishop of Stockport in 2015.
Mullally, who was a made a Dame in 2005 in recognition of her outstanding contribution to nursing and midwifery, told the Press Association that the new role is a “great honour”.
“Having lived and worked in London for over 32 years, the thought of returning here is about returning home,” she said.
“I am often asked what it has been like to have had two careers, first in the NHS and now in the Church.
“I prefer to think that I have always had one vocation: to follow Jesus Christ, to know him and to make him known, always seeking to live with compassion in the service of others, whether as a nurse, a priest, or a bishop.
“To be given the opportunity to do that now in this vibrant world-city is a wonderful privilege.”
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby were among those to offer Mullally - who is currently the Bishop of Crediton in Devon - their congratulations.
On Twitter, Khan called the newly-appointed bishop “an incredible public servant” and a “great Londoner”.