April 29 will see the marriage of Prince William of Wales to Miss Catherine Middleton. As the engagement was announced, many articles proclaimed their common descent from Edward III and I have investigated some of their assertions:
They are descended through the King’s second son, Edmund – quite apart from the uncertainty in some sources over the seniority of Edward’s sons, this is FALSE. John of Gaunt is their common ancestor.
Agnes Gascoigne, great-great-great-great-grand daughter married Sir Thomas Fairfax and the lines divide by their two sons – TRUE.
This Sir Thomas was the Civil War Parliamentary commander – FALSE. Thomas was a popular name in the Fairfax family and Agnes’ husband lived from 1476 to 1520. The soldier was descended from a cousin, had only a daughter and no grandchildren.
Catherine Middleton’s descent passes through the Meadows family of Chattisham (near Ipswich) and the Martineau family from Norwich before marrying into a Yorkshire family. Prince William’s descent passes through the Belasyse family into the Binghams (Earls of Lucan) and into his maternal line.
At the same time, I was able to view Prince William’s other maternal ancestry (his paternal family seven generations back being largely German or Scottish), including the frequently mentioned Charles II connection. Furthermore, he fits my modern definition of “Yorkist” in that he has a descent from one of Richard III’s siblings without a Tudor connection – Anne of Exeter being the matriarch of the (Manners) Earls and Dukes of Rutland, the first Duke of Rutland being progenitor of the (Russell) Earls of Bedford, eventually leading to the Spencers.