DNA tests show Duke of Cambridge ‘has Indian ancestry’

An interesting article by Hannah Strange, published in The Telegraph in 2013:

A geneticist at Edinburgh University has confirmed that DNA tests from members of his family have proved he has an Indian descendent on his mother’s side.

Six generations before him, Eliza Kewark, a housekeeper, had a relationship with one of his mother Princess Diana’s ancestors, Thoedore Forbes, and bore him several children, including a daughter, Katherine, in 1812.

Ms Kewark has, until now, always been thought to have been an Armenian living in India, where she met Theodore Forbes, a Scottish noble working for the East India Company which then ruled much of India.

But DNA testing on saliva samples from William’s relatives by Jim Wilson, a geneticist at the University of Edinburgh, and the company Britain’s DNA have established beyond doubt that she was in fact an Indian.

The clinching evidence is a rare type of DNA, R30b, found so far in only 14 others, all Indian except for one person, from neighbouring Nepal.

Their discovery makes William one of the world’s dwindling number of Anglo-Indians, who are now thought to number less than 350,000.

Anglo-Indians were discriminated against by the British during the Raj because of racism and many were consigned to work on India’s railways where they continued to work after independence. Their number include the singer Engelburt Humperdink, the actor Ben Kingsley, and, according to some, Sir Cliff Richard.

Many were the result of secret affairs between tea planters and Indian pickers on their estates or relationships between British soldiers and local girls. Because of this they were also discriminated against by many Indians. Their women were referred to in derogatory terms as ‘Chutney Marys.’

Now, according to the findings of Britain’s DNA, this marginalised community which has lived in the overlap between British and Indian society now has a new royal patron.

According to the researchers, Eliza Kewark’s daughter Katherine returned to Scotland where she exchanged letters with her mother back in India in Gujarati, and later married a James Crombie in Aberdeen. Their great-grand-daughter married Maurice Burke Roche, the fourth Baron Fermoy, which took her Anglo-Indian into the aristocracy and eventually, through their granddaughter the Princess of Wales, into the DNA of Britain’s future king.

Leading Indian commentator Swapan Dasgupta said the discovery of Indian DNA in the prince had righted an historical wrong. Most of India’s invaders and occupiers, including the Aryans and the Mughals, had eventually become Indian, except the British. “They came as foreigners but got absorbed. I’m happy the Indian strain remains in the British monarchy. India may have been lost [to Britain], but an Indian remains,” he said.

Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/india/10120344/DNA-tests-show-Duke-of-Cambridge-has-Indian-ancestry.html

Cover Picture: The Telegraph

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