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HindustanTimes Sun,13 Jul 2014

World

Williambhai Patel! DNA links Prince to India
Dipankar De Sarkar, Hindustan Times
London, June 15, 2013
First Published: 01:06 IST(15/6/2013)
Last Updated: 02:43 IST(15/6/2013)

Meet Rajkumar William, the future King of Great Britain and head of the Commonwealth. He is of Indian descent.

Actually, make that aapro Rajkumar Williambhai Patel. DNA tests conducted on the dashing young heir to the British throne have pinpointed a Western Indian ancestor from his mother Diana’s side.

When Diana married Prince William’s father Charles in 1981, it was already known that one of her ancestors was supposedly an Armenian living in Bombay with an Englishman named Theodore Forbes in 1820s.

The woman was Eliza Kewark, the Prince’s great-great-great-great-great grandmother. Now, researchers who examined a saliva sample from the Prince, say the astonishing fact is that she was at least half-Indian.

Dr Jim Wilson, a genetics expert at Edinburgh University, said evidence of the Prince’s Indian ancestory was “unassailable.” The incredibly rare mitochondrial DNA that is passed on from mothers has so far been found in only 14 other people — 13 Indians and a Nepali.

The news was celebrated by Gujaratis and other Indian-origin people in Britain — royalists or otherwise.

“It’s an honour for all British Indians to know that their future King shares our Indian ancestory,” Priti Patel, a prominent Tory MP, told HT. “We hope this includes a love of curry and Bollyood dancing! Indians in Britain will look upon him as one of us.”

Keith Vaz, the senior Labour MP of Indian origin, added: “At last all Indians have a royal connection. As a long lost cousin, perhaps Prince William can now kindly bring back the Koh-i-Noor diamond which the rest of his family borrowed many years ago!”

Diana’s maternal aunt Mary Roach, who provided the saliva sample, said: “I always assumed that I was part-Armenian so I am delighted that I also have Indian background.”

This is not the only direct Indian connection at the heart of the British establishment — Britain’s longest-serving PM Lord Robert Jenkinson (1812-1827) had a part-Indian mother.


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