St Paul’s Cathedral has appointed a female chorister – believed to be the first in its history.
Carris Jones, 35, from south London will take up the full-time role in the choir which often performs at state occasions.
She believes it is the first time a woman has joined any London cathedral choir as a full-time member.
St Paul’s director of music Andrew Carwood said he was “delighted” with the panel’s unanimous appointment.
Ms Jones from South Norwood said: “As a child I had a Mary Poppins obsession so singing at St Paul’s has been a long-held ambition.
“But when I first moved to London as a singer there was no inkling women would ever be considered for adult positions in the choir. I didn’t think it was possible.
“It feels wonderful.”
The Royal Academy of Music graduate and London Oratory alto has been singing professionally for eight years.
She will join three male counter-tenors in the alto section on 1 September after giving birth to her second child.
Reflecting on her appointment, she said: “When I speak to other female colleagues it means a lot that we won’t have to explain to another generation why they can’t [sing in this choir].
“Equality of opportunity is everything.”
Natalie Collins from the Christian Feminists Network said: “It’s good news but it’s also a bit disturbing that it’s taken until 2017.
“I hope it paves the way for more change in the high church.”
St Paul’s choir has performed at notable national events such as Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer’s wedding in 1981, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012 and Baroness Thatcher’s funeral in 2013.