More Royal ancestry

Who do you think you are? has now completed eighteen series as British television’s predominant genealogy programmes. In that time, with an average of eight episodes per series, they have uncovered many celebrities with interesting lineage and some unexpected royal descendants, including Alexander Armstrong, Clare Balding, Danny Dyer, Frank Gardner and Sir Matthew Pinsent. Now we can add the Hammersmith-born but Devon-raised comedian Josh Widdicombe to the list – from Mary Boleyn and almost certainly Henry VIII through the Carey line and Sabine Baring-Gould, as we showed here  – therefore through double illegitimacy via Henry and Edward IV. Josh’s great-grandmother Mary was Sabine’s granddaughter and Charles Baring was one of the three brothers who founded the eponymous bank.

Actually, much of the programme focussed on Henry Rich, Earl of Holland, who was “Groom of the Stool” to Charles I, fought for him, was arrested and tried after the 1648 Battle of Surbiton and beheaded in March, along with the Duke of Hamilton and Lord Capell. Holland’s mother, Lettice Knollys, was Elizabeth I’s cousin through their Boleyn mothers {pingback to 14/11} and her rival for the affection of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, whom she married in secret, but also probably her half-niece.

The programme took Josh Widdicombe to Baring-Gould’s “Lewtrenchard Manor”, Westminster Abbey, Henley and his Dartmoor primary school, with contributions from Anna Whitelock, Tracy Borman and Nicola Tallis. He isn’t fat enough to be Henry VIII, he doesn’t have a beard and he has a healthy son but there is a slight resemblance.

In the other episodes, we learned that:
2) Dame Judi Dench, who has often played Ophelia in Hamlet, has Danish nobility among her ancestors, via Ireland. One of them was a lady-in-waiting at Elsinore and their cousins included the original Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (sic). Tyco Brahe, the astronomer, was another, whilst Will Kemp was among the visitors to their homes. 
Her father won the Military Cross twice.

3) Joe Sugg has some Hugenot ancestors, who fled Normandy as they suffered repression after the Edict of Nantes was revoked. This can be compared to Mark Wright‘s episode, involving the more deadly Spanish Inquisition.

4) Joe Lycett, Pixie Lott and Ed Balls also appeared.


By super blue

Grandson of a Town player.


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