It’s hard to explain how the world’s oldest parliamentary democracy can produce a new prime minister without an election, just three weeks after the nation split in two over a referendum that will catapault the UK out of the European Union.

But after these three weeks of high drama and skullduggery in both our main parties, at a time of massive uncertainty in the wake of the referendum, when the UK has beaten Argentina to the dubious honor of having the world’s worst-performing currency, it seems providential suddenly to have a woman take the helm who is calm, shy, judicious – and the sort of quiet Anglican who represents the best of the Conservative Party.

Theresa May lives twenty minutes from me, in Sonning, over the county border in Berkshire, but grew up here in rural Oxfordshire, the daughter of a vicar whose name – the Rev. Hubert Brasier – could be straight out of Trollope.

Every Sunday she can, she attends St Andrew’s in Sonning, the kind of pretty ancient Anglican church (part of it was built in the tenth century) that stands for Middle England in film and television series.

Its vicar, the Rev. Jamie Taylor, says she is a “very supportive member” of the congregation, who attends not just services with her husband Philip but what Anglicans call “socials” – special occasions such as the parish’s September show.

“We pray weekly for Her Majesty and those set in authority under her,” says the vicar, “and that prayer will take on a little more significance for us at St. Andrew’s in the years ahead.” CONTINUE READING