More Than Hollywood Royalty, Benedict Cumberbatch Is Cousin To Richard III

Following a string of hits in recent years, Benedict Cumberbatch has risen to the level of Hollywood royalty. Movies aside though, Cumberbatch may actually be closer to authentic royalty than most.

As reported by the Leicester Mercury, a recent genealogical survey has revealed Cumberbatch is third cousin to Richard III, 16 times removed.

Professor Kevin Schurer of the Unversity of Leicester conducted a genealogical survey that tracked Richard III down to his modern day relatives. The survey revealed a direct line of descent from Richard III to Cumberbatch. Schurer pointed out that even though as many as 17 million people in the United Kingdom are related to Richard III in some way, Cumberbatch can claim a more direct line than most.

“He is more direct because he is a third cousin. Most other relatives would be much lower order cousins. I think the Queen would be a third cousin several times removed as well.”

When presented with the study’s findings, Cumberbatch family genealogist Bob Cumberbatch expressed surprise, but he also pointed out that Benedict has a history of portraying distant historical relatives. The British actor can currently be found on the big screen portraying WWII code-breaker Alan Turing in The Imitation Game.

“Miriam Silverman, of Ancestry UK, discovered a connection between Benedict and Alan Turing and now the Leicester team have extended this to reveal a connection to Richard III. If Andrew Millard’s conclusions are right then it seems highly probable that Benedict may indeed be related to many characters he has played and will play in with some exceptions such as Sherlock.”

The connection is all the more poignant given the actor’s upcoming role as Richard III in BBC Two’s The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses.

According to Variety, The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Rosescontinues the series of William Shakespeare adaptations that began with 2012’s The Hollow Crown. The next installment stars Cumberbatch as Richard III alongside Judy Dench as Cecily Duchess of York and Sophie Okenodo as Queen Margaret. The show will also feature Andrew Scott, known from his turn as Moriarity on Cumberbatch’s hit BBC drama Sherlock.

The news of his royal lineage comes amid continued professional success for Cumberbatch. In addition to his star turn on Sherlock, Cumberbatch is garnering Oscar consideration for his portrayal of Alan Turing in The Imitation Game. As reported by the Inquisitr, Cumberbatch was also recently cast as Doctor Strange as part of Marvel’s continued dominance at the box office.

[Photo courtesy of the Telegraph]