Unlike Roman Catholicism, Anglicanism is a loose family of member churches with the Archbishop of Canterbury as its spiritual leader. As such, Williams had prestige and respect, but no direct powers beyond the Church of England he leads.
Considered a liberal when he became archbishop in 2002, he made several concessions to conservatives to try to keep them from splitting away. In the process, he ended up disappointing both progressives and traditionalists and lost authority.
“His efforts have run into the sand,” said Clifford Longley, a commentator on religious affairs. “He’s not managed to do what he hoped he would be able to do.”