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Borders researches claim to have uncovered Prince William's Indian ancestry

Prince William with his wife Kate
Prince William's Indian heritage revealed after DNA test Credit: PA

The Duke of Cambridge has proven Indian ancestry, according to new DNA analysis by scientists from Melrose based BritainsDNA and the University of Edinburgh.Saliva samples from Prince William's relatives discovered a direct link between the future king and a woman who was part-Indian.

The connection traces back eight generations, with the woman, Eliza Kewark, being the Duke's great, great, great, great, great grandmother.She was housekeeper to his fifth great-grandfather Theodore Forbes, born in 1788, a Scottish merchant who worked for the East India Company in Surat.

Researchers used a mixture of traditional genealogy and cutting-edge science to come up with the findings. It shows that the second in line to the throne carries Eliza's mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Mitochondrial DNA is a small piece of DNA inherited mostly unchanged from a mother to her children.

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National

Prince William's inherited Indian DNA from Princess Diana

Prince William and his brother inherited Indian genetic markers from their maternal line from their mother Princess Diana.

Prince William, Princess Diana and Prince Harry pictured together in 1995.
Prince William, Princess Diana and Prince Harry pictured together in 1995. Credit: Anwar Hussein/Anwar Hussein/EMPICS Entertainment

The connection traces back just eight generations, with the woman, Eliza Kewark, who was housekeeper to his fifth great-grandfather Theodore Forbes, born in 1788, a Scottish merchant who worked for the East India Company in Surat, a port north of Bombay.

The DNA was passed down through Eliza's daughters and granddaughters to Princess Diana.

Prince William, Princess Diana and Prince Harry pictured at Niagara Falls in 1991.
Prince William, Princess Diana and Prince Harry pictured at Niagara Falls in 1991. Credit: Martin Keene/PA.

Eliza, who was born around 1790 and lived in India when it was governed by the East India Company, is thought to have had Armenian blood because of her surname and the presence of Armenian script in letters from her to Theodore.

Dr Jim Wilson, a genetics expert at the University of Edinburgh and chief scientist at BritainsDNA, who carried out the scientific research said very little is known about her, including when she died.

He said: "Theodore described her as his housekeeper. It appears they weren't married.

"Mixed blood is something we celebrate today but that was very much not the case in the past."

National

Future king has 'a little bit of Indian blood'

Dr Jim Wilson, a genetics expert at the University of Edinburgh and chief scientist at BritainsDNA, who carried out the scientific research, said:

This is a great example of how genetics can be used to answer specific historical questions and uncover fascinating facts about our ancestry.

This was independent evidence that there was Indian ancestry.

For me, it corroborated the findings from the mtDNA. We've got two different kinds of genetic evidence that are independent from one another and they both corroborate the story.

So it really seems that our future king has a little bit of Indian blood.

National

Prince William has 'Indian ancestry'

The Duke of Cambridge has proven Indian ancestry, according to new DNA analysis.

Scientists testing saliva samples from Prince William's relatives discovered a direct link between the future king and a woman who was part-Indian.

The research shows that the second in line to the throne carries a rare form of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) from his great-great-great-great-great grandmother. Mitochondrial DNA is a small piece of DNA inherited mostly unchanged from a mother to her children.

Both Prince William and Harry have inherited the Indian DNA and it may well pass down to their descendants.
Both Prince William and Harry have inherited the Indian DNA and it may well pass down to their descendants. Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

The mtDNA was passed on through daughters and granddaughters directly in an unbroken line to Princess Diana, then on to Prince William and Prince Harry.

Scientists said it is "very likely" that Prince William's heirs will also carry a small proportion of Indian DNA from Eliza, whose father may have been of Armenian descent.

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Stellar line-up for Borders Book Festival

The Borders Book Festival will feature a host of big names from the world of fiction including Alexander McCall Smith, Kate Mosse, A.N. Wilson, Simon Scarrow and Dame Stella Rimington.

In non-fiction, historian and presenter Neil Oliver will speak about the Vikings, one of the ‘NatWest Three’ Gary Mulgrew will talk about his account of imprisonment for alleged banking offences, and Richard Holloway and scientist Frank Close talk about the relationship between science and faith.

"Every year the festival goes from strength to strength and we, as lead sponsors, are immensely proud to be involved.

"When you look back over the last decade, the quality, range and diversity and of the authors who grace the marquees is truly remarkable. And so we look forward to this year’s jam-packed programme of activity.

"We are privileged to have such a wonderful festival in the heart of Melrose."

– Jonathan Tweedie, Divisional Director, Brewin Dolphin

The children’s programme has also attracted some big names with Lauren Child and Francesca Simon scheduled to about their new books.

The winner of the fourth £25,000 Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction will also be announced at the festival

"In ten years, we have moved from the Wynd to the National Trust for Scotland’s Harmony Garden, the 220 who attended in 2004 has mushroomed into 13,000 in 2012, and the event has become a vital driver for the tourist economy.

"Our sponsors help us make it happen. But it is the authors who have made it sing.

"We couldn’t have hoped for a more diverse, starry and topical cast of stars to help us celebrate the ten years, than those in this year’s programme."

– Alistair Moffat, Festival director
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