Danny Dyer is not so special

To be honest, I don't really know who Danny Dyer is, but I was forced against my will to watch some of the BAFTA TV awards last night, and one of the clips featured him being gobsmacked that he was descended from royalty, as if this somehow makes him special. It really doesn't.

Let's be clear, this isn't about my anti-monarchist leanings. What I mean is that I can guarantee that you are descended from royalty too.

There's a fascinating bit in Adam Rutherford's book A Brief History of Everyone who ever Lived that shows that if you have European blood, the chances of you not being descended from the Emperor Charlemagne are negligible. (Don't worry if you aren't at all European - you'll have a royal lineage too.) In fact you are a descendent of everyone alive in Europe in the 10th century who has living relatives now. So, if you prefer your royalty British, provided they have living relatives, you are a descendent of Alfred the Great, Rhodri the Great, almost certainly Macbeth (he's just a little late, but I had to go with him) and Brian Boru.

So, please don't bother to get excited about being descended from royalty, Danny. We all are.


  1. Exactly so. The point (if there is one) of the Dyer thing is, I suppose, that many people are unable to provide (or more likely haven't looked for) the genealogical proof of their exact royal relationship. I suspect there's a significantly smaller subset (landed gentry aside) who can draw the family tree accurately and join the relevant dots — no matter how diluted that royal connection really is. That said, I worked out that the Queen is my 22nd cousin and it gave me neither a warm glow nor a slot on a TV programme… A more interesting challenge might be to try to work out where that puts me & Mr Dyer in the line of succession… (and to discover if that gets you through passport control and onto the plane any faster).

  2. I'd be surprised if I were related to the royalty of anywhere.


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