Meghan Markle’s English Roots

The world is abuzz this week as the former American actress, Meghan Markle, will marry Prince Henry of Wales (familiarly known as Prince Harry) on Saturday, May 19, 2018. He is the younger son of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Diana, Princess of Wales, and is sixth in the line of succession to the British throne. While Meghan Markle is an American, she is related to both Winston Churchill and William Shakespeare, along with many other famous English citizens.

According to the MyHeritage Blog at

“We found that Markle is William Shakespeare’s fifth cousin thirteen times removed. Her connection to Winston Churchill is even closer, as they are sixth cousin five times removed.

“Markle’s connection to Churchill is through Zachariah Howe, who came from a family of British settlers who originated from Essex.

“Howe was born in Essex in 1640 and later moved to the US. It was in Massachusetts that he met wife Sarah, nee Gilbert. Meghan is a descendant of their son, John, while Winston Churchill was a descendant of their daughter, Sarah Curtis.”

You can read all this and a lot more about Meghan Markle’s English relatives in the MyHeritage Blog at:


Americans have greater chances of being linked to British nobility than the English themselves due to the settlers being mostly from middle-class of 1600s.

Liked by 1 person

    Exactly! I am a direct descendant of John Cogswell (1592-1669, my 10th g-grandfather) who came to Massachusetts in 1635 from England. It is thru him that I am 11th cousins exactly with Princess Diana, making Prince Harry my 11th cousin once removed. It’s amazing how many came from England, then eventually later generations went back–that’s how it happened in this case. But dang, even though I’m related, I never got an invitation to the wedding–can you believe it!!


I was somewhat thrown off on Sir Winston Churchill’s lineage when MyHeritage listed Jeanette Porch instead of her first Husband Lord Randolph Spencer-Churchill surname. Winston Churchill is my 3rd cousin 2x removed. Montagu P Porch was Jeanette’s 3rd husband.

Liked by 1 person

    Yes — Why on earth did they identify all the female ancestors by the surname of their last husband instead of their own birth name? Genealogists should always use a woman’s own birth name where known. In the case of Jennie Jerome, who was already notable on her own account long before her son decided to go into politics, ignoring her own birth name in favor of the surname of a man to whom she was only married for about three years at the very end of her life.

    Liked by 1 person

Thanks for listing that page; sensible of you to defer mention of it until they were actually on the point of getting married! (a free cooperative site that you have twice favorably reviewed) had a 49-kilobyte ahnentafel of Meghan before that article was published. The ahnentafel provides numerous ancestral lines of hers, with many dates (and maiden surnames), whereas the article has only two of her lines and only half a dozen dates. The article also displays a false picture of her – a mirror image of a photo taken in 2013. The article is a bit disappointing. I note that it claims only 346 “likes” and not a single “share” or independent comment in its 5-month life, which probably reflects what MyHeritage followers thought of it.

I take issue with the comment by the MyHeritage marketing VP “MyHeritage enables anyone to discover their family history easily” – it does that only if one is lucky and prepared to pay! Fortunately, some of that money supports your excellent newsletters.


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