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Millions Of Brits Are Related To The Royal Family

by : Poppy Bilderbeck on : 01 Nov 2021 09:14
Millions Of Brits Related To Royal Family - Alamy Alamy

The Royal Family is not quite as unique as it seems, after genealogy experts revealed that a high number of people are connected to a royal ancestor.

However, while it may be more likely for you to have royal blood in your veins than you think, it could be tricky to prove, and you won’t be living in a castle anytime soon.

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Comedian Josh Widdicombe and EastEnders star Danny Dyer recently discovered they had royal ties on BBC One’s Who Do You Think You Are, with a professor of genetics saying there are ‘literally millions’ of people who are also connected to royalty.

Millions of Brits related to Royal Family - Alamy Alamy

Widdicombe found out he was a descendant of Edward I, while rower Sir Matthew Pinsent also found out he was a successor of the royal, who died more than 700 years ago, BBC News reports.

Moreover, Dyer was found to be related to Edward III, while TV host Alexander Armstrong found he was related to William the Conqueror.

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So how many others have royal roots too?

The Royal Family (Alamy)Alamy

Another descendant of Edward I, Graham Holton, is a tutor on a postgraduate genealogy course at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. Holton explained that being connected to royalty is ‘not that uncommon’.

He said: 

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Whether you can actually prove it is one of the issues. Probably lots of people who are would not be able to prove it with documentary evidence.

Due to a lack of records, many people would not realise their links to royalty, with Holton saying roughly two million people alive right now are related to Edward I.

Furthermore, while the prospect of having royal blood initially seems exciting, Holton said he ‘wasn’t absolutely over the moon’ to find out he was connected to Edward I, as he is Scottish and Edward was known as the ‘Hammer of the Scots’.

Millions of Brits related to Royal Family - Alamy Alamy
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Professor Turi King, who presents BBC Two’s DNA Family Secrets and is a professor of genetics at the University of Leicester, said there are ‘literally millions’ of descendants from Richard III.

‘I always say to people we are all related to each other. It’s just a question of degree,’ she said.

King explained that everyone’s family links are like ‘interwoven thickets’, being the ‘product of centuries of mixing and merging, migration, social rises and falls, interrelated in many ways’.

Despite the glamourous nature of being related to royalty, King said there are other important ancestors that are often ‘ignored on the way’ in television programmes.

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DNA research has also aided people’s discovery as to their history and lineage, however, genealogist Else Churchill had an unexpected surprise when her results revealed her father was not who she thought he was.

And while it was ‘interesting historically’ to discover she was connected to Thomas Churchill, who lived in the 1600s, she said she doesn’t ‘get [her] identity’ from that and that he’s ‘not really’ her.

She said: ‘Family is not necessarily genes, and family isn’t necessarily ancestry.’

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Topics: Life, BBC, Royal Family

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    How millions don't know they're related to royalty