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  • Notes on the Total Ancestry of Princes William and Harry

    #72 Royal Descents, Notable Kin, and Printed Sources

    Gary Boyd Roberts

    Published Date : April 27, 2011
    The marriage of Prince William [Arthur Philip Louis] of Wales to Catherine Elizabeth Middleton on April 29, 2011, a likely future marriage by Prince Harry [Henry Charles Albert David] to Chelsy Davy, the 85th birthday of H.M. The Queen on April 21, 2011, and the forthcoming 90th birthday of Prince Philip (June 21)—plus the publications in 2007 and 2011, respectively, of The Ancestry of Diana, Princess of Wales, for Twelve Generations, by Richard K. Evans, and The Ancestry of Catherine Middleton by the late William Addams Reitwiesner—these events all remind me that in terms of national derivations and various other matters the ancestry of the two princes has never been “totaled.” In 1984 Mr. Reitwiesner and I published American Ancestors and Cousins of The Princess of Wales (Genealogical Publishing Company, Baltimore, 1984), which covered that 1/16th of the princes’ ancestry that is American. I continued this study, and my coverage of notable historical figures descended from American ancestors of the late Princess (now totaling 415) in three chapters of my Notable Kin, Volume One (Carl Boyer, 3rd, Santa Clarita, Calif., 1998) and Volume Two (1999, hereafter NK2), plus articles in volumes 1, 3, and 8 of New England Ancestors (NEA), and volume 2 of American Ancestors. Of the princes’ American ancestry, 1/8th (1/128th of the total ancestry) is New England Yankee; that much or perhaps more, mid-Atlantic Quaker; and the remainder is western Virginia or Maryland, plus a later immigrant from Devon who bears a Scottish surname.

    In NEXUS 13 (1996): 166-72, 204-11, 14 (1997): 65-68, Scott C. Steward and I investigated the ancestry of Prime Minister Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, and in NK2: 216-17 I noted the ancestry that the late Princess Diana shared with Churchill. Included were descents from the 1st Earl of Uxbridge and Jane Champagné, the 4th Duke of Bedford and Lady Gertrude Leveson-Gower, the 3rd Earl of Sunderland and Lady Anne Churchill (daughter of the 1st Duke of Marlborough), and the 1st Earl of Bessborough and Sarah Margetson. The great Leveson-Gower progeny of 19th and 20th century Whig aristocrats I explored in NEXUS 14 (1997): 70-73, and the princes’ Lygon descents and the vast English, Southern and New England Lygon clan, in NEXUS 16 (1999): 156-59, 200-2, and the first three issues of NEA.

    Several of my illustrious colleagues have worked extensively on the ancestry of the late Princess of Wales. The late David Godfrey Williamson, of Burke’s Peerage and then Debrett’s Peerage, planned a companion work to the second volume of The Lineage and Ancestry of H.R.H. Prince Charles, Prince of Wales (1977) by Gerald Paget, whose monumental study treats that prince’s ancestry for 18 generations (I published various additions and corrections to this work in The Genealogist 1 [1980]: 106-27, 2 [1981]: 244-56, reprinted, with some additions, as chapters 6 and 7 of The Best Genealogical Sources in Print, vol. 1 [NEHGS, 2004]). The late Bob Gunderson, formerly of the royal and pre-1500 division of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, spent well over a decade compiling a massive study of Prince William’s ancestry from all sources readily available there. The late Mr. Reitwiesner of the Library of Congress compiled a thirteen-generation ancestor table of the late Princess together with a long list of distant notable kin and charts outlining each kinship (an early version of much of this material was used by broadcast media for the 1981 wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Frances Spencer).

    I have known Richard K. Evans of Alpharetta, Georgia—an indefatigable genealogist whose passionate avocation for 35 years has been royal genealogy—since graduate school in Chicago in the early 1970s. He has long collected material on the ancestry of the late Queen Mother, compiled an extensive ancestor table of the Vanderbilt Cecils of Biltmore, and co-authored (with Scott C. Steward) the landmark Vanderbilt genealogical monograph in the just-cited volume 13 of NEXUS. Since the early 1980s, Richard has amassed an expansive equivalent table for 18 generations of the ancestry of the late Princess of Wales. Eager for Richard’s work to be published, I helped to sponsor publication by NEHGS in 2007 of his Princess Diana study for the first 12 generations (13 counting Diana herself, and 14 covering the maternal half of the ancestry of Princes William and Harry). Scott C. Steward helped greatly in formatting and fact-checking the text, and Scott and I both also edited the elegant biographies of 18 or so of her ancestors treated therein. An outline of twelve generations offers readers a “capsule view” of British history and extends the Princess’s ancestry to roughly 1600. The twelfth generation includes King James I of England, King Henry IV of France, and Elizabethan favorite Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex. Richard’s introduction to his splendid compendium appears, very slightly modified, in NEA 8 (2007), 4: 33-34. The following discussion of that part of the princes’ ancestry derived from their mother is, in effect, a summary of Richard’s work.

    In addition to being 1/16th American and 1/128th New England Yankee, the princes are also 1/128th Armenian—their matrilineal descent ends with Eliza Kewark from the Armenian community in New Delhi, wife (or mistress) of East India merchant Theodore Forbes (1788-1820). By Claudine, Countess Rhédey de Kis-Rhéde, paternal grandmother of the late Queen Mary (of Teck), wife of King George V, the princes are 1/64th Hungarian. Via Julie, Countess von Hauke (a great-grandmother of Prince Philip), Frederica, Countess von Schlieben (wife of thte princes’ patrilineal ancestor, Frederick, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Beck), and Francis Baring (a great-great-grandfather of the 7th Earl Spencer, Diana’s grandfather), the princes are at least 1/16th non-princely German. And via Hyacinthe-Gabrielle Varis (whose daughter by Irish “soldier of fortune” Christopher Alexander Fagan was Hyacinthe-Gabrielle Roland, mistress of Wellington’s brother, the 1st Marquess Wellesley, and an ancestress of the late Queen Mother), Susanna Guinand (wife of Alexander Cunningham, and a great-great-grandmother of the half-American 4th Baron Fermoy), Josiah Champagné (grandfather of the above-mentioned Jane), Louise-Renée de Penancoёt de Kéroualle, Duchess of Portsmouth (mistress of King Charles II, kinswoman of the infamous Marquis de Sade, and an ancestress of the late Princess of Wales via dukes of Richmond, earls of Lucan, dukes of Abercorn, and earls Spencer), Esperance du Puy (wife of Frederick, Burggrave of Dohna-Carwinden-Schlobitten, and an ancestress of Christian IX, King of Denmark), and Eleanor Desmier d’Olbreuse (wife of George William, Duke of Brunswick-Celle, and mother-in-law of King George I of Great Britain), the princes are 1/64th French.

    Of course the bulk of the princes’ ancestry is English—largely through the late Queen Mother and the 8th Earl Spencer; Protestant royal caste (German princely)—largely through King George VI and Prince Philip; Scottish—largely through Ruth Sylvia Gill, Diana’s maternal grandmother, or Lady Georgiana and Lady Charlotte Gordon (sisters, daughters of the 4th Duke of Gordon and wives, respectively, of the 6th Duke of Bedford and the 4th Duke of Richmond, ancestors of Diana’s father); or Irish (1/32nd of the total ancestry), through the 1st Baron Fermoy (father-in-law of the American Frances Ellen Work). The American (1/16), non-princely German (1/16), French (1/64), Hungarian (1/64), and Armenian (1/128) components of this ancestry, 17% of the total, add considerable foreign and non-royal “flavor” to the background of these quintessentially British princes and future British royal ancestry generally.

    In addition to a wide variety of non-British ancestry, Prince William and Prince Harry are descended, via the late Princess Diana or the late Queen Mother, from post-1600 dukes of Abercorn, Atholl, Beaufort, Bedford, Devonshire, Grafton, Hamilton, Marlborough, Norfolk, Richmond, Rutland, and Somerset, from extant titles; and Bolton, Bridgwater, Cleveland, Gordon, Kingston-upon-Hull, Newcastle (both Holles and Cavendish, but not Pelham), Ormonde, Portland, Portsmouth, and Schomberg, from extinct titles. In addition, as already noted, the late Queen Mother was descended from an elder brother of the 1st Duke of Wellington, prime minister (P.M.) 1828-30. Among other prime ministers, Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford (P.M. 1721-42), and Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey (P.M. 1830-34), noted in NK2: 218-19, are covered, with biographies, by Evans. The 4th Duke of Devonshire (P.M. 1756-57) and the 3rd Duke of Portland (P.M. 1783, 1807-9) are respectively #G115 and #F57 in volume two of Paget’s already-cited compendium. John Carteret, 1st Earl Granville (P.M. 1742-43), is an ancestor of the princes via the Spencers (the 1st Earl Spencer was Granville’s grandson) and Lord John Russell, later 1st Earl Russell (P.M. 1846-52, 1865-66), was a half-brother of Lady Louisa Jane Russell, wife of the 1st Duke of Abercorn, and great-great-grandmother of the 8th Earl Spencer. A descendant of the 2nd Duke of Grafton, the late Princess Diana was a first cousin six times removed of the 3rd Duke (P.M. 1768-70).

    As regards descents from English kings, Prince William and Prince Harry are the first heirs to the throne descended from either Charles II or James II. The princes descend from Charles II by both Barbara Villiers, Duchess of Cleveland, and the French Duchess of Portsmouth mentioned above. Another ancestor, Mary Crofts, daughter of a third mistress, Lucy Walter, was not acknowledged by Charles II; Richard thinks Mary’s father was probably Theobald Taaffe, 1st Earl of Carlingford. The princes descend from James II by his mistress Arabella Churchill, sister of the 1st Duke of Marlborough. If indeed the children of Mary Boleyn (Henry Cary, 1st Baron Hunsdon, and Catherine Cary, wife of Sir Francis Knollys) were not by her husband William Cary, but by Henry VIII, then the late Queen Mother, H.M. The Queen, H.R.H. The Prince of Wales, the late Princess Diana, and the young princes are all descendants of Henry VIII. Via the brothers Charles II and James II, moreover, the princes are also the first heirs to the British throne descended from Henry IV, first Bourbon King of France; the Medici of Florence; the last Kings of Navarre; and Spanish dukes of Alba, Bejar, and Benavente (see the ongoing Ahnentafel study [in The Genealogist, vols. 2-25, since 1981] of Charles II, now completed through the 11th, and over half of the 12th generation, including Charles). The princes also share bits of Swiss (via Isaac Thellusson, 1690-1770), Dutch (via Bentincks of Portland, Keppels of Albemarle, Isabella of Nassau-Lek-Beverweerd, Countess of Arlington, and Margaretta Cecilia Munter, Countess Cadogan), Swedish (via Anna Oxenstierna, Burggravine of Dohna-Carwinden) and Russian ancestry (this last via the father of Paul I, Czar of Russia—very likely Sergei Vassilievich, Count Saltykov).

    Choosing among the kinships that Bill Reitwiesner (with much input from me) developed about 25 years ago, I wish to note that the princes descend from Sir Matthew Lamb, 1st Baronet, and his wife Charlotte Coke, supposed paternal grandparents of William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne, prime minister to the young Queen Victoria (but Melbourne’s paternity is much disputed). Other first cousins various times removed include Robert Stewart, 2nd Marquess of Londonderry, known as Lord Castlereagh, foreign secretary and British representative at the Congress of Vienna (the mutual ancestors are Francis Seymour, 1st Marquess of Hertford, and Lady Isabella FitzRoy); Whig statesman Charles James Fox (mutual ancestors are Charles Lennox, 2nd Duke of Richmond, and Lady Sarah Cadogan); conservative statesman Edmund Burke (Garrett Nagle and Cecily ____); Henry Cavendish, chemist and philosopher (William Cavendish, 2nd Duke of Devonshire, and Lady Rachel Russell); poet John Dryden and religious dissenter Anne (Marbury) Hutchinson (see NK2: 216-19, 221-22); and Oliver Cromwell, the Lord Protector (Sir Henry Cromwell and Joan Warren).

    In Ancestors of American Presidents, 2009 Edition, hereafter AAP (NEHGS, 2009), pp. 623-45, and NEA 3 (2002), 5-6: 34-35, I outline the princes’ descent from a second cousin of Washington (the common ancestors are Virginians Augustine Warner, Jr., and Mildred Reade), a third cousin of John Adams, Jr., and a fourth cousin of John Quincy Adams (common ancestors are William Cogswell and Susanna Hawkes of Ipswich, Mass.), plus more distant kinships to Fillmore (a fifth cousin six times removed of the princes), Hayes (and his wife), Cleveland (and his wife), Taft, Harding, Coolidge (and his wife), F. D. Roosevelt, Nixon, and the two Bushes, plus wives (First Ladies) of Theodore Roosevelt (Edith Carow), Wilson (Ellen Axson), Hoover, Truman, Eisenhower, and Reagan (Nancy Davis). The 2nd Earl Grey, P.M., above, was descended from Jefferson ancestors George Lilburne and Eleanor Hicks of Sunderland-by-the-Sea, Durham; thus our third president, like our sixth, is a fourth cousin, however many times removed, of the princes. Among ancestors of Madison, I might add, William Gerard and Elizabeth Byron of Ince, Lancashire (parents of the Thomas Gerard who married Maud Bold—see AAP, pp. 184-85) are ancestors Q120217-18 (Paget, p. 468) of Prince Charles. American immigrants or families nearly related to British ancestors of the late Princess include Gov. Thomas Dudley, Richard Saltonstall, Mrs. Catherine Eyre Chauncey, Mrs. Elizabeth Stratton Thorndike, Rev. John Oxenbridge, and Herbert Pelham, all of Mass.; the famed dissenter Anne (Marbury) Hutchinson and her sister Katherine (Marbury) Scott, both of R.I.; and Byrds and most Randolphs of Virginia, plus Gov. Hon. John West, Act. Gov. Edmund Jennings, and William and Richard Bernard, this last also a forebear of the late H.M. Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.

    In NEA 8 (2007), 5-6: 38-40, 57, I noted the late Princess’s kinship to several Hollywood or music figures she may have met, liked or admired—the Beach Boys (the Wilson brothers), Grace Slick of The Jefferson Airplane, James Brolin (husband of Barbra Streisand), Vincent Price, Clint Eastwood, Kevin Bacon, and possibly Richard Gere (this last a John Hawks descendant). I shall end this essay with a connection the princes themselves might well enjoy. Among the great-grandparents of the 7th Earl Spencer (the princes’ great-grandfather) was Sir Lawrence Palk, 2nd Baronet (1766-1813), whose own maternal grandparents were Arthur Vansittart (1691-1760) and Martha Stonhouse. Martha Louise Vansittart, great-granddaughter of Arthur and Martha (Martha Louise’s parents were Arthur Vansittart and Hon. Caroline Eden, and her grandparents were Arthur Vansittart and Hon. Anne Hanger—see Burke’s Peerage [1956], pp. 2202-3), married William Chapman and was the mother of Sir Thomas Robert Tighe Chapman, 7th Baronet (1846-1919—see Burke’s Peerage [1921], pp. 476-77). Sir Thomas, who inherited the baronetcy only in 1914, had long deserted his wife, assumed the surname Lawrence, and by Sarah Maden left five sons, including Thomas Edward (T. E.) Lawrence (1888-1935), known as “Lawrence of Arabia,” the soldier, Arabist and author of Seven Pillars of Wisdom. The British officer who helped free Arabia from Turkey is thus a fourth cousin four times removed of Princes William and Harry.
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