Huffpost UK Lifestyle

How To Find Out If You're Related To Royalty, Nobility Or Aristocracy

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After a fairytale royal wedding in 2011 and this year's heartwarming news that Kate and Wills' are expecting a future heir to the throne, interest in finding your personal Prince Charming has never been stronger.

With that in mind, HuffPost UK Lifestyle decided to find out whether we are related to nobility.

princess

We can dream, can't we?

According to Dr Nick Barratt, founder of Family History Show and head of Sticks Research Agency, it is believed that up to 20% of the UK population could have links to nobility or royalty.

He said: "The reason these figures are so high is because there was discreet amount of inter-marriage within white, aristocratic families within an area pre-19th century, often including younger sons of aristocrats, land-owners and lesser royals…"

Laurence Harris, head of genealogy for MyHeritage, an online network allowing people to explore their family history and keep in touch, explains that the web of family links can be vast.

"There are 5,282 family trees posted by MyHeritage users with George III on their tree as a direct ancestor or as sharing an earlier common ancestor," Harris explained, about the monarch who reigned from 1760 to 1820.

However, it's easy for these family connections to be lost, Dr Barratt adds.

"A surname can go within a couple of generations if only daughters were born; and younger sons of younger sons tended not to receive money, fame, or titles -– making it more likely they will become lost amongst the general population.

"Illegitimacy is another cause. Many connections to royalty or aristocracy come through children born out of wedlock."

Signs that you might have royal connections

  • Gateway ancestor: A person who was prominent in the past, and so could hold the key to family connections
  • Shared surnames or middle names: These can reflect noble parentage
  • Gifts: These were typically given to illegitimate children to enable a rise in status, such as land, a military commission (if male) or a good marriage (if female)

A few years ago, the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, was shocked to discover that he was related to the British royal family.

"If you had told me that I was related to George II, I would have thought you were absolutely crackers," he told BBC programme, Who Do You Think You Are?

Olympic rower Matthew Pinsent discovered links back to Henry VIII's fifth wife Katherine Howard in the same way.

Suspected family ties can be confirmed by going through records in the public domain. Further information can be found online via the census returns, phone number listings and electoral register.

We can't wait to get started.

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