According to DNA analysis, it has been established that the Duke of Cambridge has Indian ancestry. It all started, apparently in 1812 when Eliza Kewark, who at the time lived in Surat, a state of Gujarat, gave birth to Prince William’s great, great, great, great grandmother, namely Katherine Scott Forbes.

This discovery was due to scientists testing saliva samples from Prince William’s relatives and discovering a direct link between the future king and a woman who was partly Indian.  So we go back eight generations where it all happened – Eliza Kewark was a simple housekeeper to Theodore Forbes (born 1788) who was the Prince’s fifth great-grandfather. At the time Forbes was a Scottish merchant and worked for the East India Company in Surat situated north of Bombay.

 Mitochondrial DNA (MtDNA)

BritainsDNA, who are a genetic ancestry testing company, carried out the research and found that the Duke’s genetic relationship to the populous Commonwealth nation actually runs through the maternal line. This means that Prince William carries Eliza’s mitochondrial DNA (MtDNA) – a little portion of DNA, which is inherited from a mother to her children. Eliza’s daughters and granddaughters then passed on the MtDNA, in a continuous line, to Princess Diana which was then passed on to Prince William and Prince Harry. So it is highly likely that Prince William’s heirs will also carry a tiny part of Indian DNA from Eliza.

Dr Jim Wilson chief scientist at BritainsDNA, who carried out this 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.’’

Apparently Ms Kewark had a particularly rare form of MtDNA that has only been found in 14 other individuals – 13 being in India and one in Nepal. Those involved with this project believe that all facts collected were proof enough that through the motherline, her genetic heritage was in fact Indian – which makes Prince William 1/256th Indian (Patrick French – author).

It was also discovered that Ms Kewark was in fact Armenian, owing to the fact that her name was similar to the Armenian name Kevork,  and also because she  tended to sign her name in Armenian script.   When BritansDNA further researched, they found out that Theodore Forbes was, in actual fact, the third son of a landowning company. When he found out that there was no land to be inherited, he contacted the East India Company and travelled to India where he eventually met Eliza and employed her as his housekeeper – back then it was quite common for British gentlemen to have relationships with Indian women.  So it was that Eliza gave birth to two children, one girl, Katherine in 1812 and later on a boy, Alexander. Both children were sent back to England, Katherine (Kitty) then married James Crombie a member of the coat-making family; however Alexander returned to India and may have descendants there to this day.

It makes you wonder how many of us out there may have tiny amounts of Indian ancestry, or any other for that matter, and not realise – nevertheless it is rather exciting to say the least, to discover such information within the future king’s family tree.

More about ancestry

There are many reasons to carry out ancestry DNA testing; ancestry testing can tell you so much about your history and ancestors, that which you cannot find out any other way than by doing such a test. Here is a small introduction to tests to help your find your family origins.