The Royal Family are proud of their Scottish roots and like to make the most of them, especially at this time of year when senior members decamp to Balmoral in Aberdeenshire.
Yet while King Charles can claim direct descent from James VI of Scotland and I of England, his sons William and Harry have significantly more Scottish blood in their veins than their father – even if they refuse to wear the kilt!
No fewer than seven Stuart monarchs ruled the combined throne of Scotland and England from 1603 to 1714.
Appropriately kilted, King Charles opened a distillery at John O’Groats last month
James VI of Scotland and I of England were the first Stuart monarch to accede to the British throne. Charles can trace his descent to James via George I. But William and Harry have three other Stuart lines of ancestry.
Like other royals before him, Charles has always made a point of wearing kilts north of the border. Except in their younger years, Harry and William have always refused
Thanks to the Spencer side of their family, William and Harry can count many different connections to the Stuart monarchs. Their father, Charles, has only one line
Charles III is descended from only one of them, by the daughter of James I, Elizabeth Stuart, whose grandson, the elector Georges of Hanover, succeeded under the name of George I.
Additionally, through his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, Charles is descended from Robert II of Scotland.
Lady Diana Spencer, meanwhile, was descended from James VI’s son, Charles I, as well as her grandson, King Charles II, but illegitimately through two of Charles II’s many mistresses.
Diana’s grandmother, Lady Cynthia Spencer was descended from Charles Lennox, 1st Duke of Richmond, child of Charles II and his mistress Louise de Kérouaille.
Another ancestor of Diana was Henry Fitzroy, 1st Duke of Grafton, whose mother, Barbara Villiers, was another of many people pressed by Charles II. Barbra was one of the most beautiful women of her age and columnist Samuel Pepys admitted he thought of her in his dreams.
Prince William’s Stuart blood is also bolstered by his descent from another Stuart king, James II, who reigned from 1685 to 1688.
Even Catherine, Princess of Wales seems to wear more tartan than William. But William has several lines of Scottish ancestry
The Spencer family are descended from, among others, the 1st Duke of Grafton (pictured), who was the illegitimate son of Charles II and his mistress, Barbara Villiers.
Diana, Princess of Wales, pictured at the Braemar Games in 1981, was descended from Charles II and James II.
Sarah Ferguson, pictured, Queen Camilla and the Spencer family can all trace their ancestry to Charles II through his mistress Louise de Kérouaille and their son, the 1st Duke of Richmond.
James had an affair with Arabella Churchill, sister of the 1st Duke of Marlborough and distant ancestor of Sir Winston Churchill. Diana is descended from James and Arabella’s first child, Henrietta FitzJames, born in 1667.
William’s mother was not the only royal wife descended from the Stuarts.
Coincidentally, Diana, Queen Camilla and Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, are all descended from the son of Charles II and Louise de Kérouaille, the said Charles Lennox.
This means that if Charles II – ‘the merry monarch’ – hadn’t been so ‘merry’ and remained faithful to his wife Catherine of Braganza, there would have been no Diana Spencer, no Camilla Parker-Bowles. and no “Fergie”. ‘. It’s a safe bet that recent royal history would have been much less eventful.
It also means that when he becomes king, the future William V will be the first descendant of Charles I to rule Britain since 1714.