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Royal Roots
4/1/2002
Does royal blood run through your veins? Find out with these 6 steps to discovering the kings and queens in your family tree.
You never know when you might stumble across a royal ancestor.

Gilbert von Studnitz of Benicia, Calif., was rummaging through some old boxes in his grandmother's attic when he first realized he had ties to royalty. In those attic boxes, he found family photos from the 1850s that prompted him to question his grandmother, who told him he descended from Landgrave Wilhelm IV of Hesse. Von Studnitz soon learned that his ancestors included many Holy Roman emperors (Charlemagne among them) and hundreds of European kings. “Through this descent, I am distantly related (8th-12th cousin) to almost every reigning European monarch today,” he says.

Whether you accidentally come across a royal connection as von Studnitz did, or purposely seek one out in your research, the discovery of regal ancestry can be a real thrill. Suddenly, your ordinary family is transformed into descendants of the world's most powerful rulers. History takes on a new dimension when you can say, “King Henry VIII was my distant cousin” or “I think I have Queen Elizabeth's nose!”

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