The Queen’s right to the throne came under question today after scientists made a staggering genetic discovery surrounding King Richard III …and the discovery even raises a question mark over the current Queen’s royal heritage.
One of the nation’s most notorious monarchs in life, Richard III is still creating controversy more than 500 years after his death, reports the Mail Online, adding that genetic analysis of a skeleton discovered beneath a car park in Leicester three years ago has confirmed it did indeed belong to the last Plantagenet king.
Much more intriguingly, it held a secret that could shake the foundations of the Tudor dynasty.
An international team of researchers, led by Leicester University, pieced together sections of Richard III’s family tree, right down to relatives who are alive today.
The team then compared the DNA of these living relations with genetic material extracted from the 15th century king’s teeth and bones.
Samples of mitochondrial DNA – a type of genetic material passed through the female line – proved to be a match to Richard III’s eldest sister Anne of York.
However, while the female line of inheritance is intact, the male one is not.
Analysis of the Y chromosome, which is passed down the generations from father to son, revealed a tantalising break in the male lineage.
It isn’t clear where in the family tree it occurred.
But, if it occurred close to the top of the tree, near Richard III, it could be of ‘key historical significance regarding royal succession’.
Of particular interest is the link between Edward III and his son John of Gaunt.
If John of Gaunt was actually another man’s son, the Tudors’ right to the throne is threatened.
This is because Henry VII, the founder of the Tudor dynasty, claimed his royal blood came from John of Gaunt.
Henry’s mother, Margaret Beaufort, was John of Gaunt’s great-granddaughter.
If John of Gaunt was not Edward III’s son, and so did not have royal blood, the ‘claim of the Tudor dynasty would be brought into question’, the researchers said.
This is important because the current Queen can trace her ancestry back to Henry VII, via James I and Mary, Queen of Scots
The same break in the chain would threaten the claims of the Lancastrian kings Henry IV, Henry V and Henry VI, while a different break in the chain would mean that Richard III’s own claim on the crown would be illegitimate, the journal Nature Communications reports.
The scientists writing in the journal Nature Communications, said the claim to the crown of the “entire Tudor dynasty” partly rested on its members’ descent from John of Gaunt.
They added: “The claim of the Tudor dynasty would also be brought into question if the false paternity occurred between John of Gaunt and his son, John Beaufort, Earl of Somerset.”
According to the Express: Geneticist Dr Turi King, from the University of Leicester, said: “What we have concluded is that there is, at its most conservative, a 99.999 per cent probability that these are indeed the remains of Richard III. The evidence is overwhelming.
Prof Schurer stressed that the history of the British monarchy took “all kinds of twists and turns” and the Y chromosome discovery had no bearing on the present Queen’s right to rule.
He insisted: “We are not in any way indicating that Her Majesty should not be on the throne.”
He pointed out that the Tudors took the crown essentially “by force” while using the blood line leading to John of Gaunt to back up their claim.
Asked at a press briefing if casting doubt on the Tudors could be said to put into question the legitimacy of subsequent monarchs, he replied: “Some may wish to do that. I don’t think I should do it, based on speculation.”