British RoyalsThe Sussexes

Meghan Markle’s connections to Henry VIII

Ever since the confirmation of their courtship not too long ago, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have become something of a darling couple to many royal watchers across the globe. While the two have kept their relationship fairly discrete — Markle’s first official appearance as Prince Harry’s significant other was only this September at the Invictus Games. The Royal Family has warmly received the couple at large, which is just as well, as it seems the two may already have some awkward ancestral affairs.

After compiling research into her family history, it would seem that Miss Markle has an ancestor who ran afoul of the infamous Tudor monarch, King Henry VIII. Lord John Hussey, 1st Baronet of Sleaford, suffered greatly from Henry VIII’s hair-trigger temper and suffered a spectacular fall from favour during the latter’s break from the Church of Rome. The decision was widely controversial on all fronts, and many within the Kingdom of England had grave misgivings about their monarch’s separation from the Catholic Church. In the aftermath of the ill-fated Pilgrimage of Grace, a popular uprising that sought to restore Catholicism within England, numerous people were implicated in a conspiracy against the Crown due to Catholic sympathies.

Lord Hussey was one such individual. Although he denied any connections with the Pilgrimage of Grace, his Catholic leanings and connections with the disgraced Princess Mary (later Queen Mary) worked against him. He was tried for high treason, found guilty, and summarily executed by beheading along with his cousin, Thomas Darcy. His lands were confiscated by the Crown, King Henry never one to resist the urge to fill the royal coffers.

It would seem that history maintains its sense of ironic humour, as now one of Lord Hussey’s distant descendants stands to marry to within the Royal Family.

Markle’s pedigree is certainly not to be sniffed at in other areas, either. Through her paternal great-great-great-grandmother, Mary Hussey Smith and a direct descendant of Lord Hussey, Markle is a descendant of King John of England and King Henry II, and as thus can claim royal blood in her veins. Further, Markle is also directly related to Captain Christopher Hussey Esq, who was granted a charter by King Charles II to govern the royal province of Hampton, New Hampshire, and went on to become the Founding Father of Nantucket (of the famous limerick).

Miss Markle’s African ancestry also shows in her maternal great-great-great-grandfather, who was the son of a plantation slave in Georgia emancipated in 1865.