Sarah Palin Ancestry
Photo credit: Asecondhandconjecture on Flickr

There’s something about royalty that gets Americans excited. Perhaps it’s because our country never had a royal family, or it could just be the pageantry and opulence that come with being part of a one. But when we hear that a famous American has royalty in the family, our ears prick up.

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When Ancestry took a look at the 2008 presidential and vice presidential candidates’ backgrounds, they discovered that Sarah Palin was related to Britain’s late Princess Diana. Alaska’s then-governor was Lady Diana Spencer’s 10th cousin, and their common ancestors were Abigail Ford and John Strong.

A couple of other tidbits from Palin’s family tree: She’s descended from three consecutive generations of Michael Sheerans and is a distant cousin to Franklin D. Roosevelt via a reverend who lived in the Massachusetts colony in 1634. In fact, much of Palin’s family comes from Connecticut and Massachusetts, even though it seems she likely got her Fargo-esque speech pattern via forefathers who lived in Ohio and Minnesota.

As for Princess Di, a British firm found out in 2013 that she had Indian blood in her ancestry via an Armenian-Indian woman named Eliza Newark, who had a baby with her Scottish boss, Theodore Forbes, in the early 1800s. This means that if Diana’s son Prince William eventually ascends to the British throne, he could be the first monarch known to have Indian roots. Granted, it would be only about 0.3 to 0.8 percent, and that’s not even a certainty yet. But maybe the best news is that a revelation that would have been scandalous a century ago would be accepted, or maybe even celebrated, now.
—Joel Keller

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