Ioan Gruffudd discovers direct family link to King Edward I
Ioan Gruffudd traces family history for new BBC show.
Welsh actor Ioan Gruffudd has been left stunned after learning he is a direct descendant of England's King Edward I.
The Fantastic Four star explored his ancestral roots for the BBC's Ioan Gruffudd: Coming Home show, and as he researched his family's background, he discovered a blood link to the 13th century royal, who went down in history for conquering Wales.
"It's a stunning revelation that I'm descended from somebody who wanted to cause so much ill to the Welsh and the Welsh history," Ioan remarked. "He wanted the power and control all to himself."
Tracing back the actor's family tree also revealed that he lost a cousin in World War Two, almost three decades before Ioan was born.
Leslie Griffith had been fighting the Nazis for the Allied Forces in June, 1944, and was part of the D-Day landings during the invasion of Normandy, France. However, he died just days later after an anti-aircraft gun exploded, killing him at just 33 years of age.
Historian Dr. Jonathan Hicks recalled the tragic story for Ioan on the show, and the actor was moved to tears as he recognised Griffith's bravery.
"The explosion was so catastrophic it actually killed Leslie," he explained. "It was such a large explosion in such a confined space, his body could not be identified, so he has no known grave. His life was over at the age of 33."
Fighting back tears, Ioan responded, "We're so lucky aren't we? We're so lucky...
"We know nothing really when you think about the freedoms that we have," the star reflected. "These young men and women never had a chance. Hearing these personal stories, even though it's a few generations ago, it just goes to show that we've all come from that and we've all benefited from those sacrifices."
Ioan Gruffudd: Coming Home airs on BBC One Wales on Wednesday (21Dec16).
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