Thursday, May 12, 2005

Ce n'est pas un titre.

...reference to Rene Magritte.

Remember in my last blog I mentioned most aristocrats were related somehow?
A couple of years ago I read that George Bush, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Winston Churchill were distant cousins.

President Bush and Princess Diana are also related, through Henry Spencer, a minor squire in Northamptonshire - which is where her ancestors made their fortune on sheep-farming in the 17th century. (My Icelandic ancestors owned the largest sheep farm in LambastaĆ°ir, but not being in England it got them nowhere. [Pout])
Most people who made fortunes in the 17th century received some sort of title from the monarch, usually because they found themselves in a position to fill the royal coffers and have a bit of say in things, and then the best-looking wives might become one of the queen's ladies-in-waiting.

Funny how I got around to that, because that's exactly what happened with the Churchills - John gained a fortune serving in the war, became Duke of Marlborough, built Blenheim Palace, and his wife (Sarah? Georgiana?) became l-i-w to Queen Anne. Anyway, in the 18th century the Spencer line split with a marriage to the Churchills.

Bringing in the American contribution in the 19th century - I think without the American fortunes poured into the British aristocracy, it would have foundered - Consuelo Vanderbilt married the 9th Duke of Marlborough.
(Speaking of Americans, Diana is also related to George Washington, whose ancestor is buried in the parish church of Althorp.)

When I was at that Stowe Benefit banquet at Christie's last year, young Alexander Spencer Churchill opened the proceedings. His grandfather, the 11th Duke of Marlborough, sitting at the next table, was the spitting image of Sir Winston, only thinner. (To explain the relationship, Winston was the cousin of the 9th Duke.) I kept sneaking peeks because I couldn't believe my eyes at the family resemblance.
And if you think about it, Diana's father had the distinctive Churchill eyes too. She got hers from her mother by the way.

I promise not to talk about history and aristocrats for a long time.


I shared a funny story with Suzy the other day. My father's name is Oliver, so obviously when I was little, I thought "all of a sudden" was "oliver sudden".

Suzy said that when her son Julian was little, he thought the Highwayman cry of "Stand and deliver!" was "Stand on your liver!"


Jia Li said...

awwww cute little story at the end

Anonymous said...

nice jokes. How do you ever find out about all these family connections?

Jia Li said...

she is secretly related to them...

Anonymous said...

never thought of that!!! maybe you are right.