When actress Meghan Markle got engaged to Prince Harry, many people were excited about the idea of an American becoming part of the royal family. But it turns out, Markle already has some royal blood.
Her Royal Highness Princess Henry of Wales (Markle’s to-be title) is descended from royalty herself — specifically King Edward III, according to a Boston-based genealogist.
Gary Boyd Roberts, a senior research scholar at the New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston, has looked into Markle’s genetic history.
Roberts and his colleagues found that the former "Suits" actress is a 24th generation descendant of King Edward III, the King of England from 1327 to his death in 1377.
Her connection to the king comes through an early immigrant to Boston: “the royally-descended Rev. William Skipper.” Skipper arrived in New England in 1639, according to the genealogists, and is an ancestor of Thomas Wayne Markle, Meghan’s father.
This also means, though, that Markle is distantly related to her future husband.
“Meghan Markle is related to Prince Harry hundreds of times over, and therefore also to millions of Americans and Britons,” Roberts said in a statement. “Much of American and English history is reflected in her diverse ancestry.”
Roberts also identified distant cousins of Markle, including Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (her future grandmother-in-law) and the late Princess Diana of Wales (Prince Harry’s mother).
Markle also has some high-profile cousins on her American side, like former presidents George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Herbert Hoover, Calvin Coolidge, Chester Alan Arthur and James A. Garfield. Roberts, researchers found.
“In addition to representing many important firsts, the Royal bride-to-be also has unexpected roots to traditional royal history,” D. Brenton Simons, president and CEO of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, said in a statement. “Through these facts, taken together, she may be a solidifying and positive figure in Anglo-American kinship and American-British relations.”