Meghan Markle is ready to join one of the world’s most historic families, but her family tree suggests she may have royal roots of her own. Research originally presented in November of 2017 by NEHGS revealed a line to Edward III.
With the big wedding just around the corner, Ancestry is celebrating Markle’s lineage which includes stories of formidable kings, peacekeeping queens, and tales of prominent royal service.
Kings, Queens, and Knights
Ancestry’s expert team of genealogists have identified a calligraphic chart that shows one of Meghan Markle’s ancestors, Lionel of Clarence, the 3rd son of King Edward III. Lionel was King of England and Lord of Ireland from January 1327 until his death.
Another one of Meghan’s royal ancestors was Jane Seymour, the third wife of King Henry VIIIand Queen of England from 1536 to 1537. Jane was a second cousin of Isabel Hildyard, Meghan’s 12th great-grandmother. It seems Meghan and Jane have more than just DNA in common. Jane was recognized by the Imperial Ambassador, Eustace Chapuys, for her peacemaking efforts at court. Likewise, Meghan has similar humanitarian goals and works with organizations including World Vision and the UN. Considering their connection, this shared passion for justice may not be such a coincidence.
Meghan also counts former knights and royal servicemen in her ancestry. Thomas Clifford, Meghan’s 17th great-grandfather, was the Master of the King’s Horses under Richard II. John Clifford, her 16th great-grandfather, was 7th Baron de Clifford. He fought at the Battle of Agincourt and was made a Knight of the Garter (one of the most prestigious orders of chivalry) by Henry V. John Clifford was later killed in France during the Hundred Years’ War.
Perhaps the highest position of service to the Royals belonged to Robert Hildyard, the 4th cousin of Meghan’s 8th great-grandmother. As Gentleman of the Bedchamber for Charles I, he waited on the King when he ate in private, helped him dress, guarded the bedchamber and water closest, and provided companionship. Meghan will soon carry on this heritage of serving Queen and country as she takes her place amongst the Royals.
Could You Be Related to Royalty?
It’s easy to search Ancestry’s massive database of records to discover your own royal connections. Some ways to discover your family history include:
1: Explore surnames: Cross-reference surnames in your family tree with those commonly found in the Royal family. Look for names like Windsor, Stuart, and Plantagenet. If you have a unique surname, or even if your last name is Smith, Ancestry can help you find out where your ancestors worked, how well they were educated, and how long they lived — all signs, according to researchers, of their place in the social hierarchy.
2: Seek out wealth: Look for evidence of wealthy ancestors through domestic staff listings on census records, property and business, documented in wills and probate records, and ancestors who were extensive travelers listed in immigration records traveling in first class.
3: Look for titles: Titles like “Sir,” “Count,” or “Duke” mean your ancestor had some connection to royalty. If any of your ancestors had titles, explore the age and origins of those titles.
4: Look for places: For surnames in your family tree that share names with a place, do further research to establish any connection between an ancestor and significant ownership in that location.
5: Find the Normans: Investigate if any of the surnames in your family tree have Norman origins. If so, research that particular branch of the family as many early Normans had direct royal connections.