William 'has Indian blood'

LONDON - Prince William will become Britain's first king to have proven Indian roots after saliva samples revealed direct lineage to the Commonwealth's most populous nation, The Times has reported.

DNA from the second-in-line to the throne was linked to that of a woman now known to have been at least half-Indian, according to researchers at the University of Edinburgh.

It had previously been assumed that Eliza Kewark, the duke's great-great-great-great-great grandmother was Armenian, but DNA passed down the female line revealed that she was at least half-Indian, The Times reported.

She was a housekeeper to William's fifth great-grandfather Theodore Forbes, born in 1788, a Scottish merchant who worked for the East India Company in Surat, a port north of Mumbai.

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 was "very likely" that William's heirs will also carry a small proportion of Indian DNA from Eliza, whose father may have been of Armenian descent.

University of Edinburgh genetics expert Jim Wilson, who carried out the tests, said the proof of William’s Indian roots was "unassailable".

Eliza, who was born around 1790 and lived in India when it was governed by the East India Company, is thought to have had Armenian blood because of her surname and the presence of Armenian script in letters from her to Theodore.

Dr Wilson said: "I became aware of Eliza a couple of years ago. I was wondering if it was possible she was Indian. What was an Armenian doing in Mumbai? That’s what got me interested."

Using birth, marriage and death records, he said researchers traced two of Eliza's living direct descendants, who are both third cousins of Princess Diana’s mother, Frances Shand Kydd.

"So it really seems that our future king has a little bit of Indian blood."

He also said that, if Theodore still has living descendants, it is possible that William and Harry have cousins in India.

Related search: Prince William, India, DNA testing

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