Three (or four) different Y-chromosomes

Further genealogical research by the University of Leicester has uncovered and tested Patrice de Warren,  descended in the male line from Geoffrey of Anjou, the husband of Matilda, the ancestor of all Plantagenets:

His Y-chromosome neither matches that of Richard III nor that of the Somersets, one of whom differs from his cousins. There are 22 links from Geoffrey to Patrice. There are nine links from Geoffrey to Richard (four down from Edward III) and 23-25 to the Somerset (18-20 down from Edward III). Remembering that all links are equally likely to be broken, we can take the empirical probability as follows:

The Somersets are not descended from Edward III = 19/23
Richard III was not descended from Edward III (in that way) =4/23

By super blue

Grandson of a Town player.


  1. A very interesting post, super blue. It is almost always emphasised in this DNA hiccup, that there is no impact on the modern monarchy, and this happens again in Dr Turi King’s article. Why are they immune? If they trace their right to the throne back through the centuries to the Normans, Plantagenets, Tudors etc., surely they are as affected by it as those earlier monarchs? I always thought that long-gone kings and queens were referred to as the ancestors of the House of Windsor, meaning the blood line. Clearly my assumption is wrong. Can anyone explain how and why the royals of today are exempt?


    1. The discovery doesn’t have to mean anything for the royal line; there’s a high probability that the breaks in the male line were later on in the Somerset family. In any case, it’s hardly relevant except in terms of history.

      And anyway… let’s be honest, does it even matter who the current royal dynasty and the current monarch of the United Kingdom is? I’m not British, and the British public’s obsession with the current royal family and their lives seems rather bizarre to me. They are just figureheads, without any real power or influence over politics. Nobody even tries to pretend that the queen is “ruling” the country. UK is basically a parlamentary republic masquerading as a monarchy. The modern royal family are just celebrities. Medieval royals were something completely different, they are more akin to today’s prime ministers or the president of the USA than the modern European royalty.


  2. Because Parliament accepted the first “Tudor” (TR 1486), the descendants of his daughter Margaret ahead of those of his daughter Mary (under H8), then the exclusion of all Catholic claimants (Act of Settlement 1702).


  3. It’s not just a question of statistics, but of documented circumstances. E.g. Isabelle of Castille (Richard III’s great-grandmother) was reported by Thomas Walsingham to have had an affair with John Holland that came to an end when he fell in love with Elizabeth of Lancaster. According to historian Pugh, the possibility that Holland was the father of Isabella’s favourite son, Richard of Conisburgh, 3rd Earl of Cambridge (Richard III’s grandfather), ‘cannot be ignored (Pugh, T.B. Henry V and the Southampton Plot of 1415, 1988). I have no problems in facing this now even more likely possibility, since Richard of York’s claim descended from his mother back to Lionel of Antwerp, so why should we be scandalised at the idea that one of the at least 3 possible “breaks in the male line” was on Richard’s side? The study seems to prove that even high rank women were catholic in their tastes, in the Middle Ages as well as in more recent times, and their husbands sometimes preferred to overlook such inconveniences


  4. That is why I referred to the empirical probability. Arguments can be made in several other cases to make the “informed probabilities” different.


Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.