Science has made it possible for human beings to trace their ancestry as far as hundreds of years back. With the help of this technology, some celebrities, including royalty, artists, and famous inventors, have learnt about their close relationship with renowned historical figures. Journey with us today as we unearth 11 celebrities who are descendants of famous historical figures.

1. Taylor Swift and Emily Dickinson

Even before the “discovery,” Taylor Swift fans had long talked about the facial similarity between the pop star and Emily Dickinson, a renowned poet, on social media. It was later revealed that Taylor Swift and Emily are distant cousins – she is Emily’s sixth cousin. As a gesture of goodwill and a healthy relationship between the two, Taylor Swift released an album called The Tortured Poets Department earlier this year.

2. Meghan Markle and Winston Churchill

Contrary to popular belief, Meghan Markle did not join the royal family by marrying Prince Harry; she was already royalty. According to a genealogy website called, Meghan Markle and Winston Churchill are sixth cousins. The former Suits TV show star is also the fifth cousin to William Shakespeare.

3. Kit Harrington and Robert Catesby

The Kit Harrington family tree indicates that he is a direct descendant of Robert Catesby, who planned and executed the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. Kit is related to Robert from his mother’s side; his mother’s maiden name is Catesby.

Strangely enough, Kit Karrington, an actor best known for his role in the Game of Thrones as John Snow, was given a role in filming the BBC historical drama Gunpowder, which narrates the story of Robert Catesby. In the actual plot to blow up the parliament using gunpowder in 1605, Kit’s father’s ancestor was present. The actor would probably never have existed had the plot been successful.

4. Rosa Leslie and King Charles II

Kit Harrington’s wife, Rosa Leslie, is also a descendant of a renowned historical figure, King Charles II. Rosa Leslie comes from the Clan Leslie. This is why she grew up in a Scottish castle called the Lickleyhead Castle, built in the 16th century.

Rose’s direct ancestor, King Charles II, enjoyed watching theater plays, and he made it legal for women to participate in professional acting. So, Rosa would probably have never made it to the big screens were it not for King Charles.

5. Ozzy Osborne is the Descendant of a Neanderthal and Tsar Nicholas II

Ozzy Osbourne’s DNA is a strange one. While tracing his ancestry, researchers discovered that Ozzy Osbourne was a descendant of a Neanderthal and Nicholas II, the last Tsar of the Russian empire. He has also been linked to Jesse James, the infamous American outlaw, and ancient Romans.

6. Tilda Swinton and Robert the Bruce

Tilda Swinton has been featured in numerous blockbuster films such as Constantine, The Chronicles of Narnia, and Doctor Strange. The Scottish actor is a direct descendant of Robert the Bruce, who ruled Scotland from 1306 to 1329. She is 19 generations away from Bruce, and her parents are direct descendants of Robert the Second, Bruce’s grandson.

7. Robert Pattinson and Vlad the Impaler


Before his iconic role as Batman, Robert Pattinson was mainly known for the blockbuster Twilight, where he played a love-struck vampire. Robert does not come from a descendant of vampires. Instead, genealogists have discovered he is a descendant of Vlad the Impaler.

Vlad was a Roman ruler who loved impaling his subjects on spikes. This iconic figure also inspired Bram Stoker to come up with the character Dracula, one of the most notorious vampire characters in history.

8. Benedict Cumberbatch and Richard III

Popularly known by his superhero name, Dr Strange, Benedict Cumberbatch is the second cousin of Richard III, 16 times removed. This is based on research done by a geologist at the University of Leicester. Interestingly, Benedict played Richard III in the series The Hollow Crown, and it wasn’t the first time he played the role of his descendants. In the BBC series Sherlock, Benedict played the role of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who is his 16th cousin, according to

9. Beyoncé and Queen Elizabeth

Besides both being queens in their capacity, there is one other thing that Beyoncé and Queen Elizabeth II shared – King Henry II is their ancestor. That makes Beyonce the 25th cousin to Queen Elizabeth II.

10. Angelina Jolie and King Phillip II

From images drawn by historians of King Phillip II, he resembles professional actress Angelina Jollie. Research has shown that Angelina is a descendant of King Phillip II, who ruled France from 1180 to 1223. The pop star has French blood despite being born in the US. The relationship between these two stems from Marcheline Bertrand, Angelina’s mother, whose family history dates back to the monarch.

11. Harry Lloyd and Charles Dickens

Viserys, Harry Lloyd from Game of Thrones, is a direct descendant of Charles Dickens. Their relationship comes from the mother’s side, who was the descendant of Henry Fielding Dickens. That makes Charles the great-great-great grandfather of Harry Lloyd. Charles Dickens was an English novelist and social critic who gave birth to some popular fictional characters.

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Last Update: June 7, 2024