Thursday, December 4, 2014

Let's Talk Paternity

It's been just over 24 hours since the release of "The Identification of the Remains of King Richard III" (link: ) & already the report has been misinterpreted & misunderstood, despite the very best efforts of the authors to fully explain what it was they were looking for and what they found.  I really recommend reading the report & watching the attendant videos on Youtube. These are primary sources & those should be consulted & cited before any news article in the media, especially ones that shout    "Richard was Illegitimate" should be. (By the way, he was not.)

The report cited above also has a nice chart that shows the paternal descent from Edward III, as well as descent from Cecily Neville along the female line.  The research along Cecily's line was used to prove the theory of John Ashdown-Hill, which disproves the allegations that the University thought little of his work.  The chart can be viewed here:

The above chart leaves out Margaret Beaufort's connection to Edward III (it was not relevant to the research at hand), but this chart does include her, as well as Joan Beaufort, & is worth reviewing, if only to keep the various branches of the Plantagenet family tree straight:

As for breaks in the Y-Chromosome chain, those could have happened at any point along the way. For all we know, there was a break in the Y-Chromosome between Henry II & Edward III. But for the sake of this blog (& our sanity), let's presume there was no break between these two kings.  Where else could this "non-paternity event" have occurred?  Listed below are, in my opinion, the top likely places:

#1.  John Beaufort: Son of Katherine Roet & John of Gaunt, according to history.  However, John's birth is given as occurring between 1371 & 1373.  Katherine's first husband, Hugh Swynford, died sometime between those years as well. It is possible that Katherine was pregnant by her first husband & didn't know it. John Beaufort was Margaret Beaufort's father.

If, however, John Beaufort was the son of John of Gaunt, then the Tudors were descended from the Plantagenets via Margaret Beaufort, the mother of Henry Tudor.  The break in the Y-Chromosome would have happened at a later date. What is needed is better documentation on when Hugh Swynford died & when John Beaufort was born.  In order to completely exclude Hugh Swynford as the presumed father (he was, after all, married to Katherine), John Beaufort's date of birth must be after August/September 1372.

#2 Richard of Conisburgh (Richard III's paternal grandfather): rumors of the time suggested he was fathered by John Holland, with whom his mother, Isabella of Castille, had a scandalous affair.  He was not mentioned in his father's or his brother's wills.  However, because Richard III's Y-Chromosome has strong connections to France, it is unlikely that it was inherited through Holland.  The Holland family appears in England in the early 13th Century & has no known paternal links to France.

These are just possible places where the break  between Richard III & the Somersets could have occurred.  In order to prove or disprove these theories, further testing needs to be done. Since that would lead to more tomb raiding, I just don't see that happening, so I guess the search for the Plantagenet Y Chromosome ends here.

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