Princess Catherine


(Please scroll further down for the family trees)

The arrival of Prince George of Cambridge – a unique view from the sideline

22 July 2013 was a Red Letter Day for British genealogy, when Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to Prince George, the future King of Great Britain. Prince George  has all the royal ancestry of his father, but unlike all previous monarchs since William the Conqueror, this future monarch will have half his ancestry from perfectly normal families, across the whole spectrum of society and from across the whole of England. Right across Britain, thousands of genealogists who have traced their ancestry back to forebears who were lorry drivers, coal miners, agricultural labourers, industrial workers, servants, carpenters and clerks, not to say bank managers, cloth manufacturers, clergymen and mayors, and had thus found a link to the ancestry of the Duchess of Cambridge, were able to add the new royal baby to that branch of their family trees.

I am no exception. Through the Fairfax and Birch ancestry the Duchess and I share in seventeenth century Norwich, the royal baby is my tenth cousin twice removed. 23 July was an exciting day for me as, thanks to the efforts of my wonderful publisher Martin Rynja to publicise my book The King’s Henchman – and notwithstanding my own family connection to the royal baby – I was invited to participate in the media’s celebration of the birth.

Filming for Sky news in front of Paul Emsley’s portrait of the Duchess of Cambridge in the National Portrait Gallery.

Filming for Sky news in front of Paul Emsley’s portrait of the Duchess of Cambridge in the National Portrait Gallery.

First, I was invited to the National Portrait Gallery to talk about the Duchess’s ancestry. By special permission from Buckingham Palace I was filmed talking about the ramifications of the Duchess’s family tree in front of Paul Emsley’s portrait of the Duchess of Cambridge – a great privilege, with the portraits of so many kings and queens all around us. That was for broadcast later in the day and it appeared in Sky about five o’clock and was then repeated a couple of times. (Due to other filming, I missed its airing at 5, but imagine my delight when, having finally got home late in the evening,  I switched on the television on and there was that very interview!).

After the National Portrait Gallery filming, I turned down Sky’s kind offer of a taxi to my next engagement and decided to stroll there instead –  through Trafalgar Square, through part of St James’s – the area my biography’s subject, Henry Jermyn, had done so much to create – and then up the Mall, decked with Union Jacks, towards Buckingham Palace.

Myself amongst the media encampment at Canada Gate, opposite Buckingham Palace

Myself amongst the media encampment at Canada Gate, opposite Buckingham Palace

At Canada Gate was an encampment of the world’s media, and I was ushered in past the security guards to be interviewed by Dermot Murnaghan about the family tree of the new prince. The atmosphere outside the Palace was fantastic. We were held up by the changing of the guard – splendidly commentated for Sky by my heraldic colleague Alastair Bruce, Fitzalan Pursuivant of arms at the College of Arms. The band played ‘Congratulations’,  the crowd cheered and we all ducked under the awnings to avoid a brief shower of rain. Meanwhile my telephone had been gathering messages at a furious rate. It turned out that Martin had arranged for me to be summoned to ITV to appear on the ITN lunchtime news at 1.30.

Here I was interviewed by Nina Hossain, alongside the Duchess’s biographer Claudia Joseph and Clair Irvin, editor of Mother and Baby magazine.  We indulged, from our very different points of expertise, in a little speculation about what the royal child might be called and I talked about the way you never know what will find in family trees. My book The King’s Henchman is all about the twists and turns in the Stuart dynasty’s ancestry, whilst in the Duchess’s family tree her ostensibly very working class Harrison ancestors turned out to have been descended from Edward IV. But what seemed to fascinate Nina most was that my own investigations into my ancestry had revealed that the royal baby is my tenth cousin twice removed, through the Fairfax ancestry I share with the Duchess.

Anthony Adolph talking about the ancestry of the royal baby live outside Buckingham Palace on Sky News, 23 July 2013

Me talking about the ancestry of the royal baby live outside Buckingham Palace on Sky News, 23 July 2013

With the magnificent sixty-two gun salute to the royal child echoing in my ears I returned home, happy and exhausted at the end of a real day to remember… … or so I thought, until the telephone rang. ITN wanted me back for the 6.30 news. It seemed likely, but was still in fact fantastically uncertain, that the Duke and Duchess would leave the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington some time that afternoon or early evening.

Myself on the ITN news. As the day wore on I seemed to graduate in the captions from ‘genealogist and author of the King’s Henchman’ to plain ‘Royal Genealogist’

When the Prince of Wales left there after his first visit to his grandson (meaning there were must have been three successive heirs to the throne in the hospital room at the same time) he told the waiting press that they would see the baby ‘in a minute’ – but quite what H.R.H. meant by ‘a minute’ none of us knew. So we sat and watched the rolling news on Sky and waited.

I was in the Green Room with veteran royal commentator Eve Pollard, and she was sure ‘a minute’ meant the next half an hour or so, but things were still completely uncertain when the ITN news started at 6.30. Eve, myself and Claudia Joseph sat in the wings, wondering if we’d be called up to be interviewed.  The presenters, Alastair Stewart and Julie Etchingham opened with the latest from Paddington – the program was devoted entirely to this – and soon enough Eve was ushered up to be interviewed, sitting to Julie’s right.

The Mall on the day when the royal baby left hospital

The Mall on the day when the royal baby left hospital

After a while I was summoned, fitted with a microphone and showed up to sit on Alastair’s left.  We talked about the choice of names – would it be a popular royal one like Edward or George, or a less traditional one like Francis, with its subtle echo of Frances, the middle name of Princess Diana? We talked about the extended family tree of the Duchess, and the wonderful doses of ordinary English blood she was giving to the royal baby. All the time, the main image which viewers were seeing – and which we could see on the monitors – was of the doors of the Lindo Wing, which remained firmly shut.

But suddenly, moments after I’d finished speaking, staff began to file out to line up outside. The tension mounted and then, about ten past seven (though I’d completely lost track of time) the doors finally opened and there were the royal couple, holding the tiny bundle of blankets which contained the royal child. I’m not one to be over sentimental about babies, but I must say that, in the emotionally-charged atmosphere of the newsroom, it was an extraordinary moving experience to see the little fingers of the prince moving about above the top of his blanket as he experienced his first contact with the world’s media. He is not the first tenth cousin twice removed I’ve ever had, but he is the first  tenth cousin twice removed of mine who will one day be a king, and that certainly made him special enough to me.

Beside me, Alastair and Julie pressed their reporter with questions, and he in turn politely asked questions of the Duke. After a few minutes, they left to take the royal baby home, and it was time for the end of the news. Alastair summed the events up as one of the most extraordinary he’d witnessed in all his years as a royal reporter. Once we were off-air – and I’m sure he won’t mind my revealing this – he punched the air with elation and there was general clapping and happiness all round. What  an extraordinary situation – to watch one of the most newsworthy royal moments of our time being reported on the news whilst sitting next to the newsreaders  themselves! Just time to give a quick telephone interview to Andrew Castle (whose own fascinating family tree I had traced a few years before for GMTV) on LBC radio – from an office ITV very kindly leant me for the purpose  – and it really was time to go home, but to a stream of further phone calls and e-mails from members of the press around the country.

The next day, 24 July, saw me giving interviews to press agencies, resulting in videos appearing on the websites of most of the national newspapers and some international ones as well, including one to which I have provided the link in this sentence.

The most memorable piece of filming that morning was one for an international press agency which we  filmed at the George Inn in Southwark.  I sat under the inn sign and talked about why Prince George had been given the names he had. The interview was made more memorable by the sudden appearance of an armed bank robber, bearing a kalashnikov (later, someone said ‘wasn’t that an MK47?’, whereupon the cameraman said very slowly and deliberately ‘I covered the revolution in Libya. I know a kalashnikov when I see one’)’. At first, we all thought the same ‘gosh, don’t those plastic toy guns look realistic’. Then, as the man strode into the centre of the beer-yard, someone piped up ‘he’s got a gun!’ and there was a general diving for cover. Thank goodness, all that followed was silence, for the robber was only using the yard as an escape route.  A chap from ITV who happened to be there rushed over to ask our cameraman ‘did you film that?’, to which he responded, calm and firm again, ‘I covered the revolution in Libya. When you see a man with a machine gun, you don’t point a camera at him’.

So I went home, very glad to be alive, and thinking it was all over. But it wasn’t. Just as the working day was drawing to a close, another telephone call came – the baby’s name had been announced! The evening news programs were desperate for intelligent comment and within ten minutes I was being whisked out of the house by Sky News to rush by taxi to Old Palace Yard, opposite the Palace of Westminster. It was a lovely sunny evening and we sat on the steps of the statue of King George V being filmed talking about the choice of names – George after George VI, but also after Prince Charles, whom is widely believed will take the name George (VII); Alexander, the male form of Queen Elizabeth II’s middle name, Alexandra, and Louis, the name of Lord Louis Mountbatten, the maternal uncle of Prince Philip, who played such an influential role in the House of Windsor.

Being interviewed about Prince George's names below the statue of George V opposite the Palace of Westminster for Sky news on the evening of 24 July

Being interviewed about Prince George’s names below the statue of George V opposite the Palace of Westminster for Sky news on the evening of 24 July

That was broadcast on Sky news at 9 o’clock. Then, a short walk along the Embankment to Millbank for the next appointment which had come in – a pre-recorded interview for ITN’s 10 o’clock news, also about the H.R.H. Prince George of Cambridge’s names.  It did not take long to get home afterwards, in time for a telephone interview with LBC which went out live about 9.45, and then another live radio interview, the following morning (25 July, 8.50 am) with Shane Coleman on Ireland’s national news station, Newstalk.

What an experience!

The Family Tree

On her wedding day, 29 April 2011, Catherine Elizabeth Middleton became H.R.H. Princess William, Duchess of Cambridge. Her family tree was investigated by Claudia Joseph, the late William Addams Reitwiesner and Michael J. Wood, who found that the future Duchess had  Fairfax ancestry. This tied in neatly with my own research, in conjunction with local historian Dora Kneebone, into the ancestry of my artist ancestor Perry Nursey, whose mother was Catherine Fairfax, who belonged to the East Anglian branch of the Fairfax family. I did all this work long before I had the slightest idea that another Fairfax descendant, Kate Middleton, would become engaged to the future heir to the throne. It turned out that she is my tenth cousin once removed.

Edward III

Edward III, proven ancestor of H.R.H. the Duchess of Cambridge

The engagement was announced on 16 November 2010, a very pleasant day for those of us with Fairfax blood, and was followed by the wonderful celebration of their marriage on 29 April 2011. This is now the third out of the last four generation of our Great British Royal Family who have chosen to marry “commoners” rather than other royals. The old days, when international diplomacy was based on royal marriage alliances, are over: the First World War was proof enough that having all of Europe’s royals closely related to each other was no guarantee of peace in any case. The modern royal family is reverting to an older model, whereby monarchs, rather than being genealogically isolated from their people, are very much the head of the greater families of their nations. The marriages of George VI with Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, of Prince Charles with Lady Diana Spencer and Lady Camilla Parker-Bowles, and now the marriage of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, provide new royal links for countless people with “ordinary” British blood and create an exciting focus for many family trees.

A delightful outcome of these investigations was that the Duchess – and I – appeared to have royal blood ourselves through our ancestor William Fairfax, fourth son of Sir Thomas Fairfax of Gilling and Anne Gascoigne, a descendant of Edward III, and that we were cousins of Prince William through his mother the late Princess Diana’s descent from Sir Nicholas Fairfax, the eldest son of the self-same Sir Thomas and Anne. However, on closer inspection these royal links seemed a little less sure than the published versions suggested. Was our ancestor William Fairfax really the same as William the fourth son of Sir Thomas and Anne? Having found a few problems which I could not resolve I published a cautionary article, “The Fairfax ancestry of the Duchess of Cambridge – a correction” in The Genealogists’ Magazine, vol. 30, no. 10, June 2012, pp. 407-411 Thereafter I kept searching and in July 2013 I found a pedigree compiled by the Suffolk clergyman-genealogist Matthias Candler (1604-1663), preserved in Harleian Manuscript 6071 (p. 502/f. 249v) in the British Library. Taken straight from the family’s own knowledge, it confirmed the line as shown below, and dispelled any shadow of doubt. Princess Catherine’s very appropriate descent from the Greek goddess of love is explained below. More information on Perry Nursey can be obtained from Anthony Adolph. More information on the Fairfaxes is available at The Fairfax Society For information on working out cousinships, see How to Work Out Cousinship.

My letter to the editor of the Telegraph, 25 June 2013.

My letter to the editor of the Telegraph, 25 June 2013: the version as printed omitted the word ‘great’ after’ ‘Viscount’s’: the 1st Viscount was a great grandson of Sir Thomas Fairfax of Gilling. A month after this letter was published I proved that John the parchmentmaker was definitely the grandson of Sir Thomas of Gilling.

THE ROYAL ANCESTRY OF H.R.H. THE DUCHESS OF CAMBRIDGE AND H.R.H. PRINCE GEORGE OF CAMBRIDGE In the pedigrees below, each generation is listed in order: each person listed is the offspring of the one above, and parent of the one below.

Edward III (1312-1377) = Philippa of Hainault Edward III started the Hundred Years War, to try to make good his claim to the French throne. Through his two daughters and six sons (including John of Gaunt) he is ancestor of most people alive in the world who have English ancestry. The lucky few who can prove it are still probably in excess of a million people. These include many Americans, via “gateway ancestors”, scions of the English nobility and gentry who settled in the new colonies of America, and who transmitted their blue blood to innumerable colonial descendants. His sons included:

Lionel Plantagent, Duke of Clarence (1338-1368) = Lady Elizabeth de Burgh, daughter of the 3rd Earl of Ulster Lionel was guardian and lieutenant of England during his father’s absence abroad in 1345-6, and was later the king’s lieutenant in Ulster. He was father of:

Lady Philippa Plantagenet = Edmund Mortimer Earl of March (1351-1381 Edmund was Marshall of England 1369-1377 and bore the sword and spurs at Richard II’s coronation. Edmund Mortimer provides Princess Catherine with a wonderful mesh of Anglo-Norman and Welsh ancestry, for his 4 x great grandfather Ralph Mortimer married Gwladys Ddu, one of the daughters of Llewellyn the Great. Llewellyn was of the male line of Rhodri Mawr, the unifier of Wales, to whom the bards gave a splendid line of descent, back to the Catuvellauni kings of south-east England (the family of Caratacus and Cymbeline), from whom they in turn deduced a line of descent from Brutus of Troy, the legendary founder of Britain, a great grandson of Aeneas, a member of the royal house of Troy. Aeneas, the subject of Homer’s epic poem The Iliad, was the son of Anchises, by the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite. A full pedigree going back to Brutus appears in my book Brutus of Troy. Lady Philippa and Edmund Mortimer had a daughter:

Elizabeth Mortimer = Sir Henry Percy (1364-1403), nicknamed “Hotspur”. Hotspur was captured by the Scots at the battle of Otterbourn, but was later released. He assisted in placing Henry IV on the throne and later defeated the Scots at Humbledon Hill in 1402. He then foolishly decided to promote his brother-in-law Sir Edmund Mortimer as a rival king to Henry IV, and was defeated and slain at the Battle of Shrewsbury, part of the Wars of the Roses that he had helped to instigate. Elizabeth and Henry had a daughter Elizabeth who married John de Clifford: they were ancestors of American President Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933) and also of Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex and Danny Dyer. Elizabeth and Henry’s son, meanwhile, was:

Henry Percy, 2nd Earl of Northumberland (1394-1455)= Lady Eleanor Neville Henry was restored to his family’s dignities, and served Henry V as warden of the eastern marches, and then as a member of the council of regency after the king’s death. He was killed at the Battle of St Albans fighting against the Duke of York. Lady Eleanor Neville was also of royal descent: Her father was Ralph Neville, 1st Earl of Westmorland, and her mother was Lady Joan Beaufort. Joan’s parents were John of Gaunt, Earl of Lancaster, son of Edward III, and Catherine de Roet, sister-in-law of the poet Geoffrey Chaucer.

Henry Percy, 3rd Earl of Northumberland (1421-1461) = Eleanor, Lady Poynings Henry defeated and slew the Duke of York at Wakefield in 1460 and combined forces with Queen Margaret to defeat the Earl of Warwick at St Albans in 1461, before he was himself slain at the Battle of Towton. Their children included Lady Eleanor Percy (wife of Edward, 3rd Duke of Buckingham and ancestress of the actress Miranda Hart and the Hart Dyke family of Lullingstone Castle) and:

Lady Mary (or Margaret) Percy = Sir William Gascoigne of Gawthorpe, Yorkshire Lady Mary and Sir William had a daughter Dorothy Gascoigne, who married Sir Ninian Markenfield and was ancestor of American President William Howard Taft (1857-1930). Lady Mary and Sir William also had a daughter Elizabeth, who married Sir George Talboys: they were ancestors both of President George Washington and of the late Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother (and thus of Prince William himself): these lines of descent are given separately, below. Finally, Lady Mary and Sir William had a daughter:

Anne Gascoigne = Sir Thomas Fairfax, of Walton, Yorkshire. Sir Thomas Fairfax was the grandson of William Fairfax, son of Sir Richard Fairfax. Sir Richard was the 9 x great grandson of John ‘Fair-fax’, the fair-headed, who Fairfax family tradition makes the son of a Viking called Skarpenbok (more likely, they were simply descended from mixed Viking-Saxon or even Norman settlers at Skirpenbeck near York, but the old story is a more romantic one). Sir Richard Fairfax was also the father of Sir Guy Fairfax, ancestor of the Barons Fairfax who settled in the United States (see below). Anne Gascoigne and Sir Thomas Fairfax had two sons of note, Sir Nicholas Fairfax (see below), ancestor of the late Princess Diana: they also had a fourth son,

William Fairfax (d. 1588) = Anne Baker. William settled at Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.  He married Anne in 1542.  The genealogical manuscript of Matthias Candler (1604-1663), preserved in Harleian Manuscript 6071 (p. 502/f. 249v) in the British Library proves that this William was the son of Sir Thomas and that William’s son was:

John Fairfax (d. 1614) = Mary Birch John was Master of the Great Hospital in Norwich in 1609. He wrote his will as “John Fayerfax now Master or Keeper of the Hospitall comonly called God’s howse, Scittuate & being in Hobnestreete within the Citty of Norwich” on 18 February 1614. His wife Mary Birch was daughter of John Birch, citizen and carpenter of Norwich, and sister of George Birch, Sheriff of Norwich in 1604 and Mayor of Norwich in 1621.

Benjamin Fairfax (1592-1676) = Sarah, daughter of Roger and Joane Galliard, of Ashwellthorpe, Norfolk. Benjamin became the Anglican curate of Rumburgh near Halesworth, Suffolk, and made the transition to become Rumburgh’s Presbyterian curate under the Commonwealth. He was ejected in 1662 under Charles II to make way for a new Anglican minister, but remained living in Rumburgh for the rest of his wife. His wife’s sister Abigail Galliard married the minister Theophilus Brabourne, who believed that the true Sabbath was Saturday, not Sunday, and who was arrested for his pains, and only released when he had recanted his heretical point of view. Benjamin Fairfax had a daughter Sarah, who married Bartholomew Allerton, who had been a boy passenger on the Mayflower, but who returned in later life to be a nonconformist minister in Suffolk (Allerton’s own kin, to whom the Duchess is not related by blood, include two presidents: his sister Mary was a 5 x great grandmother of Franklin Delano Roosevelt: and his half-brother Isaac Allerton was 3 x great grandfather of President Zachary Taylor). Benjamin also had three sons of note, Nathaniel, John and Benjamin. Nathaniel (1637-1690) became a Presbyterian minister at Willisham, and was ejected in 1662, after which he settled at Woodbridge, Suffolk, as a physician. Nathaniel’s brother John Fairfax (see below) was ancestor of the landscape painter Perry Nursey and genealogist Anthony Adolph: Nathaniel and John’s brother was Benjamin Fairfax, with whom we continue this line:

Benjamin Fairfax a draper  of Halesworth, Suffolk (b. 1625) = Bridget Stringer, daughter of Walter Stringer of Chester.

Sarah Fairfax (1654-1687) = John Meadows (1622-1697) John was the Presbyterian minister of of Ousden, Suffolk, but  when Charles II was restored in 1660, he was summarily ejected. He became a Presbyterian teacher in Stowmarket, Suffolk and later at Bury St. Edmunds.

Philip Meadows (1679-1752), Mayor of Norwich in 1734 = Margaret Hall (1691-1765)

Sarah Meadows (1725-1800) = David Martineau (1726-1768) Sarah and David had children including Peter Finch Martineau, ancestor of Guy Ritchie, and Thomas Martineau, with whom we continue the line:

Thomas Martineau (1764-1826) = Elizabeth Rankin (1771-1848)

Elizabeth Martineau (1794-1850) = Thomas Michael Greenhow (1792-1881) Elizabeth’s sister was the famous Harriet Martineau, deaf from an early age, whose political writings made her a leading voice in the campaign against slavery: an avid cigar-smoker, Harriet is sometimes referred to as the world’s first female journalist.

Frances Elizabeth Greenhow (1821-1892) = Francis Lupton (1813-1884)

Francis Lupton (1848-1921) = Harriet Albina Davis (1850-1892)

Olive Christiana Lupton (1881-1936) = Richard Noel Middleton (1878-1951)

Peter Francis Middleton (b. 1920) = Valerie Glassborrow (1924-2006)

Michael Francis Middleton (b. 1949) = Carole Elizabeth Goldsmith (b. 1955)

Catherine Elizabeth Middleton, b. 9 January 1982, married to H.R.H. Prince William of Wales, eldest son of the heir apparent H.R.H. the Prince of Wales, the eldest son of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge (b. 22 July 2013)

The Duchess of Cambridge is a 20 x great granddaughter of Edward III 

The writings of  the Duchess’ ancestress Mrs Sarah Meadows (nee Fairfax) which I found in The Suffolk Bartholomeans were featured in an interview with me in The Sunday Times on 31 August 2014 (with some additional comments about Pippa Middleton, not in the original interview, added by Marie Woolf):


Benjamin Fairfax (above), who died in 1676, was father of Benjamin Fairfax, ancestor of Princess Catherine and Guy Ritchie, and of:

John Fairfax (1623-1700) = Elizabeth Cowper, daughter of William Cowper of Mosborough, Derbyshire John Fairfax decided to become a clergyman when his baby sister died. He became Presbyterian rector of Barking-cum-Needham, Suffolk, until he was ejected in 1662. He stayed in Barking as a Presbyterian preacher. In 1670 he and five other ministers were arrested for preaching without licenses and, being found to be ‘persons dangerous to the public peace,’ were flung into prison ‘till they should find sureties for their good behaviour.’ When finally released, he became a preacher at Needham Market and Ipswich too. He was succeeded in the Presbyterian ministry at Barking by his protégé Joseph Priestley (1733-1804, the famous theologian and scientist, credited with the discovery of oxygen).

Nathaniel Fairfax (1661-1722) of Barking-cum-Needham, Suffolk = Frances

John Fairfax (c. 1710-1758) = Mary Hayward of Framlingham John became a grocer and draper in Coddenham, Suffolk, and also had land at Kettleburgh, Suffolk, and Boxtead, Essex

Catherine Fairfax (1742-1827) = John Nursey, surgeon of Coddenham, Suffolk and later of Stonham Aspall, Suffolk. Perry Nursey (1771-1840) = Elizabeth Simpson Perry Nursey trained as a surgeon, but longed to become a landscape painter. He went to Scotland, to train under the great painter Alexander Nasmyth (1758-1840), and became great friends with the artist Sir David Wilkie (1785-1841). Perhaps at the instigation of their contemporary the poet Robbie Burns, Nursey returned to Suffolk to woo his sweetheart Elizabeth Simpson, and ran away with her back to Edinburgh to be married. They settled at her family farm in Little Bealings, which they landscaped and gentrified as a mansion called The Grove. He followed the new trend of painting out of doors, as opposed to in a studio, and was a great friend of John Constable (1776-1837). Wilkie wrote once of Constable’s “large picture of Willy Lott’s house, which Mr Nursey says promises uncommonly well in masses &c… and tones” – the subject of Constable’s most famous painting, The Haywain. Though a talented artist, and picturesque landscape gardener and architect, Perry Nursey grew too used to the lifestyle of a Suffolk gentleman and, whilst his family (some of whom he named after artists) grew large and expensive, he neglected to make enough money: the result was debt, bankruptcy, and a sad end in a dingy house in Marylebone, far from his beloved Suffolk countryside. His artistic legacy, however, was not inconsiderable: “There is a genuine feeling of Nature in one of Nursey’s sketches”, wrote his friend Edward FitzGerald (translator of the Rubáyat of Omar Khayyám, “as in the Rubenses and Claudes here [in London]: and if that is evident, and serves to cherish and rekindle one’s own sympathy with the world about one, the great end is accomplished”. Perry’s daughter was:

Rosalba Violante Nursey (1812-1895) = Thomas Howell, solicitor’s clerk

Jessie Howell (1849-1921) = Thomas William Waters, commercial traveller

Perry Nursey

Perry Nursey, ancestor of Anthony Adolph, and 4th cousin to Princess Catherine’s 5 x great grandfather, Thomas Martineau

William Thomas Waters (1875-1955), button manufacturer = Winifred Emily Coleman

Beryl Ivy Waters (1912-1994) = Major Joseph Albert Stanislaus Adolph, M.C., T.D. (1910-1995) (who married 2ndly Gwendolen Mary Stepney)

Peter Joseph Adolph (b. 1937), marine engineer = Jane Patricia Collingwood Rietchel (b.1937)

Anthony Adolph (b. 1967), genealogist.

Anthony Adolph is Princess Catherine’s 11th cousin once removed, and she his 10th cousin once removed.

Anthony Adolph is Prince George’s 12th cousin twice removed, and Prince George is Anthony Adolph’s 10th cousin twice removed.

Anthony Adolph is a 19 x great grandson of Edward III


Sarah Meadows (see above) the wife of David Martineau was mother of Thomas Martineau, the ancestor of Princess Catherine, and also of:

Peter Finch Martineau Edward Martineau (d. 1862)

William Martineau (d. 1905)

Edith Jane McLaughlin (d. 1950)

Doris Ritchie (d. 1935)

John Vivian Ritchie Guy Stuart Ritchie, film director = Madonna Ciccone, the rock star “Madonna”.

Rocco Ritchie b. 2000

Guy Ritchie is Princess Catherine’s 7th cousin once removed, and Princess Catherine is his 6th cousin once removed.

Guy Ritchie is Prince George’s 8th cousin twice removed, and Princess George is his 6th cousin twice removed.



Sir Thomas Fairfax who married Anne Gascoigne (see above) was father of William Fairfax, ancestor of Princess Catherine, Anthony Adolph and Guy Ritchie, and also of:

Sir Nicholas Fairfax (d. 1570) of Gilling Castle, Yorkshire, Sheriff of Yorkshire.

Sir William Fairfax (d. 1597)

Thomas, 1st Viscount Fairfax of Emmeley (or Emley) (d. 1636)

Mary Layton

Mary Foulis

Sir David Foulis (d. 1694)

Honora Chaloner

Edward Chaloner

Edward Chaloner (d. 1737)

William Chaloner (d. 1754)

Anne, Lady Harewood (d. 1805)

Frances Douglas (d. 1817)

Harriet, Lady Aberdeen (d. 1833)

James, 1st Duke of Abercorn (d. 1885)

James, 2nd Duke of Abercorn (d. 1913)

James, 3rd Duke of Abercorn (d. 1953)

Cynthia, Lady Spencer (d. 1972) (married Albert, 7th Earl Spencer)

Edward, 8th Earl Spencer (d. 1992)

Diana, Princess of Wales (d. 1997)

H.R.H. Prince William of Wales (b. 1982), married to Catherine Middleton.

Because this line seems to have bred rather faster than the others, we have the rather odd outcome that Princess Catherine is a direct 15th cousin of Prince William’s great grandmother: she is his 18th cousin three times removed and he is her 15th cousin three times removed.

Prince William is Anthony Adolph’s 14th cousin four times removed, and he is Prince William’s 18th cousin, four times removed. However, Prince William actually has another line of descent from the Fairfaxes, and through that line there is a yet closer relationship. The line is as follows:

Sir Thomas Fairfax who married Anne Gascoigne (see above) was father of William Fairfax, ancestor of Princess Catherine, Anthony Adolph and Guy Ritchie, and also of:

Sir Nicholas Fairfax (d. 1570) of Gilling Castle, Yorkshire, Sheriff of Yorkshire.

Lady Margaret Belasyse

Sir Henry Belasyse (married Ursula Fairfax of Denton: see below)

Thomas Belasyse, 1st Viscount Fauconberg

John 1st Lord Belasyse

Barbara, Lady Webb

Mary, Lady Waldegrave

James, 2nd Earl Waldegrave

Anne Seymour

Horace Beauchamp Seymour

Adelaide, Countess Spencer

Charles, 6th Earl Spencer

Albert, 7th Earl Spencer (married Cynthia, daughter of the 3rd Duke of Abercorn)

Edward, 8th Earl Spencer (d. 1992)

Diana, Princess of Wales (d. 1997)

H.R.H. Prince William of Wales (b. 1982), engaged to Catherine Middleton.

This makes the Duchess of Cambridge  a direct 14th cousin of the late Princess Diana.  

The Duchess is thus Prince William’s 15th cousin, once removed and Prince William is the Duchess’s  14th cousin, once removed.


Sir Richard Fairfax of Walton, Yorkshire, was father of William Fairfax of Walton, who married Catherine Neville, of a younger branch of the family of the Earls of Westmorland. They had a son Sir Thomas Fairfax who, in 1495, successfully proved his right to inherit Gilling Castle, on the southern flanks of the North Yorkshire Moors. He married Elizabeth Sherburne of Stonyhurst (note that Burke’s Peerage, usually very reliable in these matters, omits this important generation by mistake). Sir Thomas and Elizabeth were the parents of Sir Thomas Fairfax who married Anne Gascoigne, whose royal descent is described above. Thomas and Anne were the ancestors of Princess Catherine, H.R.H. Prince William, the genealogist Anthony Adolph and Guy Ritchie. Sir Richard was also the father of:

Sir Guy Fairfax (d. 1495) of Steeton

Sir William Fairfax (d. 1514)

Sir William Fairfax d. 1558

Sir Thomas Fairfax (d. 1599) of Denton

Thomas, 1st Baron Fairfax of Cameron (d. 1640) (his sister Ursula married Sir Henry Belasyse (see above). They had an eldest son Ferdinand, 2nd Baron Fairfax (d. 1648), father in turn of Sir Thomas Fairfax (d. 1671), 3rd Baron Fairfax, who sided with Parliament in its rebellion against Charles I, and rose to become a leading Parliamentarian general, under Oliver Cromwell. The 1st Baron was also father of:

Rev. Henry Fairfax (d. 1665) Henry, 4th Baron Fairfax (d. 1688) Henry was father of Thomas, 5th Baron Fairfax (d. 1710), who married Catherine, daughter and heiress of the 2nd Lord Colepeper, Governor of Virginia, whose family had been granted 300,000 acres there. This was inherited by the Fairfax family. Thomas was father of two sons, the 6th and 7th Barons Fairfax, both of whom died without male heirs. It was from the 7th baron that the great estates in Virginia were conficated after the War of Independence. Henry was also father of:

Henry Fairfax (d. 1688), , father of:

William Fairfax (d. 1757), who also settled in Virginia, America. William Fairfax had a daughter Anne Fairfax, who married Lawrence Washington, half-brother of George Washington, first President of the United States of America. William Fairfax also had a son:

Brian Fairfax, 8th Baron Fairfax (d. 1802) Brian Fairfax was father of Thomas Fairfax, 9th Baron Fairfax, from whom the present Barons Fairfax are descended. Brian also had a relationship with one of the slaves on his plantation and had a son:

Thornton Fairfax, father of:

Charles B. Fairfax, a tanner, father of:

Matthew Lawrence Fairfax, a mixed-race Baptist preacher, father of:

Frankie Fairfax (d. 1972), civil rights activist and jazz trombonist, whose jazz band in Philadelphia launched the career of Dizzie Gillespie.

Princess Catherine is Frankie Fairfax’s 14th cousin three times removed, and he is her 17th cousin three times removed.

Prince George is Frankie Fairfax’s 14th cousin four times removed, and Frankie is Prince George’s 18th cousin four times removed


George Washington, an unlikely cousin of H.R.H. Prince George (statue in Trafalgar Square, London).

George Washington, an unlikely cousin of H.R.H. Prince George (statue in Trafalgar Square, London).

Princess Catherine’s descent from Sir Thomas Fairfax and his wife Anne Gascoigne is described above. Anne had a sister Elizabeth:

Elizabeth Gascoigne, sister of Anne Gascoigne, ancestress of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and of Anthony Adolph. Elizabeth married Sir George Talboys.

Ann Talboys = Sir Edward Dymoke

Frances Dymoke = Sir Thomas Windebank (parents of Sir Francis Windebank, Secretary of State to Charles I)

Mildred Windebank = Robert Reade

Sir George Reade who settled in Virginia = Elizabeth Martiau

Mildred Reade = Col. Augustine Warner (junior, d. 1681).They were ancestors of the late Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother (see below) and also had a daughter:

Mildred Warner = Lawrence Washington

Augustine Washington = Mary Bell

George Washington, 1st President of the United States, d. 1799.

This makes Princess Catherine George Washington’s 8th cousin, 7 x removed and Anthony Adolph his 8th cousin 6 times removed.

This makes Prince George Catherine George Washington’s 8th cousin, 8 x removed. 


Mildred Reade and Augustine Warner, in the pedigree above, were also parents of:

Mary Warner = John Smith

Mildred Smith = Robert Porteus d. 1758

Rev. Robert Porteus d. 1754

Mildred Porteus = Robert Hodgson

Robert Hodgson, Dean of Carlisle d. 1844

Henrietta Mildred Hodgson = Oswald Smith of Blendon Hall

Frances Dora Smith = Claude Bowes-Lyon, 13th Earl of Strathmore

Claude, 14th Earl of Strathmore d. 1944

Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, H.R.H. Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother = George VI

Elizabeth II Charles, Prince of Wales H.R.H. Prince William of Wales

This rather unexpected American connection makes Princess Catherine a direct 16th cousin of Her Majesty the Queen, and thus a 16th cousin twice removed of Prince William.

It makes Anthony Adolph a direct 15th cousin of the late King George VI.


Princess Catherine’s great great grandmother Harriet Albina Davis was descended from the Davenport family. It has been suggested, but not proved conclusively, that these Davenports descended from the marriage of Henry Davenport of Hollon, Shropshire and Elizabeth Talbot. Elizabeth was descended from Sir Thomas Leighton, Governor of Guernsey and his wife Elizabeth Knollys, who were also ancestors of Princess Diana, and there is a possible descent for the Knollyses from Henry VIII, but again this is far from proven. It is through the Fairfaxes that the absolutely certain royal connections of Princess Catherine are derived.

The pedigrees above show how The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and myself are descended from Edward III. It must be stressed that millions of other people are descended from him as well – a topic discussed in detail in my book Tracing Your Aristocratic Ancestors. Edward III’s line can be traced a long way back too.