In Depth

Is the Queen really a descendant of Prophet Mohammed?

Researchers claim Her Majesty’s lineage can be traced back to founder of Islam

The Queen’s lineage can be traced back more than 40 generations to the Prophet Mohammed, according to researchers. 

A Moroccan newspaper claims to have tracked Her Majesty’s bloodline through the “Earl of Cambridge in the 14th century, across medieval Muslim Spain, to Fatima, the Prophet’s daughter”.

So is Queen Elizabeth really related to the founder of Islam?

“It depends on whether you see a distant ancestor as related or not,” says History.com.

Similar theories about the Queen’s lineage were first published in 1986 by Burke’s Peerage, a British authority on royal pedigrees. “It is little known by the British people that the blood of Mohammed flows in the veins of the Queen,” Harold B. Brooks-Baker, publishing director of Burke’s, wrote at the time to then prime minister Margaret Thatcher.

Brooks-Baker “connected Queen Elizabeth to Mohammed via Zaida of Seville, a Muslim princess from the 11th century who converted to Christianity and became King Alfonso VI of Castile’s concubine”, says History.com.

But there were concerns about the accuracy of many claims made by the genealogist, who died in 2005. “His great advantage for journalists was that he was always available to make an arresting comment,” said The Daily Telegraph in his obituary. “His disadvantage was that he was often wrong.”

Abdelhamid Al Aouni, the historian who wrote the article for Moroccan newspaper Al-Ousboue, believes Brooks-Baker was right about the British royal, at least.

Using Zaida as the starting point, Aouni traced Queen Elizabeth’s genealogy back 43 generations all the way to Mohammed. The purported connection “builds a bridge between our two religions and kingdoms”, he told The Economist.

Buckingham Palace has not responded to the latest reports, but “officials are understood to have paid little attention in the past to claims by Brooks-Baker”, says The Times.

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