The revelation that adventurer Bear Grylls is related to Robert the Bruce is almost certainly a bit of a thrill for him. Bruce was a famous Scottish king and, above all else, a winner. The discovery, made during the filming of BBC show Who Do You Think You Are?, might make some believe that, despite the passage of time, Grylls inherited some of Bruce’s qualities and that's why he is famous.
Those of us with more ‘ordinary’ lives might conclude that, if only we could discover such an illustrious past, our fortunes would be transformed. Or we might lament our lack of genetic fortune.
However, one thing that is sometimes overlooked is the extraordinary number of people who can claim to have a famous ancestor. According to one estimate, Genghis Khan has 16 million descendants. And in 2008, genealogical expert Dr Bruce Durie estimated up to 200 million people could be “distantly related” to Robert the Bruce.
So there’s a fair chance we’re all related to him or some other big name. Mary, Queen of Scots? Jock Tamson? King Arthur? Take your pick.