WEST PALM BEACH, FL, May 15, 2013 — Saliva analysis of relatives of Prince William show the second in line for the throne of England has an Indian ancestor.
The DNA analysis means William would be the first British monarch of Indian lineage.
British historians believe the India genetics come from Eliza Kewark, William’s great-great-great-great-great grandmother on his mother’s side.
Scottish scientists established the link after discovering that Eliza’s descendants carried a rare strand of mitochondrial DNA seen only in people from the Indian subcontinent. Scientists have identified the strand in 14 other people, 13 of whom are Indian and one who is Nepalese.
Genetics expert Jim Wilson from the University of Edinburgh and a group called BritainsDNA who carried out the tests explained that the strand is only passed from mothers to children, so neither Prince William nor Prince Harry will hand the genetic information to their children.
For generations, historians – and the family of Princess Diana – referred to Kewark as “Armenian,” despite overwhelming anecdotal information suggestion she was from India.
According to historical documents, Theodore Forbes, William’s great-great-great-great-great grandfather, was the third son of a Scottish landowner. To make his fortune, he went to India with the East India Company.
When he arrived in the country, he hired Eliza Kewark as a housekeeper.
Forbes and Kewark had three children. However, when their daughter Katherine was six, Forbes left Kewark and took his children away from her. Researchers later found letters from Kewark to Forbes begging him to allow her to see her children. Researchers found no indication Forbes granted her request.
In his will, Forbes called Kewark his “housekeeper” and “the purported mother of Katherine.”
Historians believe Forbes may have abandoned Kewark to protect his children. Racism was so extreme at the time that if it was generally known that Forbes’ children were half-Indian, they likely would have been relegated to lower levels of society and “denied good marriages.”
Family lore changed Kewark to an Armenian. The story remained in tact until the DNA tests surfaced. The tale of Eliza as Armenian remained even during the marriage of Princess Diana to Prince Charles.
Princess Diana is also descended from most of Europe’s royal families, and her ancestry include the infamous Lucrezia Borgia. Despite this aristocratic lineage, historians say even a smattering of “colored blood” would have tainted the family at the time.
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