Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

William 'has proven India ancestry'

Prince William has Indian ancestry, scientists have found

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 connection traces back just 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, a port north of Bombay.

The research was carried out by BritainsDNA, a genetic ancestry testing company, which found that the Duke's genetic connection to the populous Commonwealth nation runs through the maternal line.

They used a mixture of traditional genealogy and cutting-edge science to come up with the findings.

The research 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.

In this instance, the mtDNA was passed on by Eliza's daughters and granddaughters directly in an unbroken line to Princess Diana, then on to Prince William and Prince Harry, researchers found.

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.

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."

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