Shocks grow when Monty Don digs into his past

MONTY Don got more than he bargained for when he agreed to feature on the BBC's genealogy programme, Who Do You Think You Are?

The TV gardener discovered that he is directly related to his wife's first husband and found there is a royal connection to his family.

The former Gardeners' World presenter met his future wife, Sarah, at Cambridge University in 1979. They eloped while she was married to another man, who rowed in the same boat as Don.

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The discovery that Don, 55, is related to Sarah's former husband is one of two revelations that are not actually shown in next Monday's programme.

The other finding is a royal connection - that Sir Alexander Erskine of Gogar, the guardian of James VI & I, who had been King of Scotland for 36 years when he became King of England and Ireland, was one of Don's ancestors.

The gardening writer said: "I'm directly related to my wife's first husband. I didn't discover that until I made the programme. That's quite extraordinary."

Monty and Sarah have been married for 27 years, they have three grown-up children and now live in Hertfordshire.

On the hit BBC1 show, Don also delves into the past of his great-grandmother, the family his mother was reluctant to talk about.

His father's ancestors made a fortune in marmalade, as part of Dundee's celebrated Keiller family. "I certainly didn't know the extent of the wealth, because none of it filtered down to me", Don said.

Don also discovered that a painting in his house is that of his great-great-grandfather, the Rev Charles Hodge. He added: "It turns out that not only was a painting of Charles Hodge hanging on the wall of the house I was brought up in, but it's also on the wall of the house I live in now."

Who Do You Think You Are? featuring Monty Don is broadcast at 9pm on Monday on BBC1.

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