“From the writings about Princess Diana I perceived, some years ago, maybe chauvinistically, the remnants of her Armenian genes, even though she was only 1/64th Armenian,” writes Levon K. Topouzian in an Armeniapedia entry on the late Princess Diana.
Topouzian says that Lady Diana’s Armenian ancestry is traced to an Armenian woman from India named Eliza Kewark or Kework which is an Armenian name.
The story goes when “Some years ago letters with ‘funny writing’ were found in the ancestral home of the late Princess Di. After investigation they realized that it was Armenian and that they were written by grandmother Eliza…
“Eliza Kewark married the Scottish merchant Theodore Forbes. From this union was born Kathleen Scott Forbes who married James Crombie from Aberdeen. They had a daughter Jane who married David Littlejohn and their daughter Ruth [Littlejohn] married William Gill. [Their daughter] Ruth Sylvia Gill, the grandmother of Lady Diana, married Lord Fermoy and their daughter, Frances Ruth Burke Roach married the 8th Earl of Spencer who is the father of Lady Diana.
“It is noteworthy that Eliza Kewark was also referred to as ‘Mrs. Forbesian,’ concludes Topouzian. In short, Eliza Kewark was Lady Di’s grandmother’s grandmother’s grandmother, which makes her 1/64th Armenian, which makes Prince William (and naturally, Prince Harry), 1/128th Armenian.
DNA tests on saliva samples from Prince William's relatives have revealed a direct link between him and a woman who was part-Indian named Eliza Newark. William, the duke of Cambridge, is second in line to the British throne after his
Britains DNA, a genetic ancestry testing company in London, said William was carrying Eliza's mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) — a small piece of DNA inherited mostly unchanged from mother to child.
Eliza was a housekeeper for his great-great-great-great-great grandfather Theodore Forbes, a Scottish merchant who worked for in Surat. They had a daughter called Katherine — and it is through an unbroken maternal line to the prince's mother,Princess Diana, that the young royal and his brother Prince Harry have inherited .
Born in 1790, Eliza lived in India when it was governed by the East India Company, and is thought to have had Armenian blood because her surname is rather like the Armenian name Kevork.
Dr Jim Wilson, a genetics expert at the University of Edinburgh and chief scientist at BritainsDNA, who carried out the scientific research, said it was the fact that she was an Armenian living in Bombay that intrigued him. "I was wondering if it was possible she was Indian," he said. "What was an Armenian doing in Bombay? That's what got me interested."
Using birth, marriage and death records, the scientist said researchers traced two of Eliza's living direct descendants, who are both third cousins of Diana's mother, Frances Shand Kydd, and tested samples of their saliva. Using other genetic tests to corroborate the findings, they also discovered that the two direct descendants were around 0.3% and 0.8% South Asian. The rest of their DNA was of European origin.
"This was independent evidence that there was Indian ancestry," Dr Wilson said. "For me, it corroborated the findings from the mtDNA. We've got two different kinds of genetic evidence that are independent from one another and they both corroborate the story. So it really seems that our future king has a little bit of Indian blood."
Letters from Eliza to Forbes have also been found which contain Armenian script. This also suggests a degree of Armenian cultural heritage and the possibility that her father may have been of Armenian descent. "But we believe that all the evidence we have gathered shows that her genetic heritage through her motherline is Indian," scientists said.
Scientists said it was "very likely" that William's heirs will also carry a small proportion of Indian DNA from the housekeeper. William and his wife Kate are expecting the birth of their first child in July.
Mary Roach, Princess Diana's maternal-aunt, told The Times, "I always assumed that I was part-Armenian so I am delighted that I also have an Indian background."
I hope you enjoyed the story.