Actress Brooke Shields has a pretty impressive pedigree -- hanging from her family tree are Catherine de Medici and Lucrezia Borgia, Charlemagne and El Cid, William the Conqueror and King Harold II, vanquished by William at the Battle of Hastings.The article goes on to show that lots of people descend from Edward III of England, Mohammed, and/or Genghis Khan. Fascinating stuff, sort of like the fact that one out of every four breaths we take contains a molecule of Julius Caesar's dying breath. Maybe all those Irish-immigrant claims about descending from the kings of Ireland aren't so farfetched after all.
Shields also descends from five popes, a whole mess of early New England settlers, and the royal houses of virtually every European country. She counts Renaissance pundit Niccolo Machiavelli and conquistador Hernando Cortes as ancestors.
What is it about Brooke Shields? Well, nothing special -- at least genealogically.
Even without a documented connection to a notable forebear, experts say, the odds are virtually 100 percent that every person on Earth is descended from one royal personage or another.
My father, for one, loves to tell the story of how one of our poshest, snootiest Brazilian relatives went to Portugal to research his genealogy and had his heart broken when he found the bastard son of a princess in the mix. My father prefers to turn it around and brag that our family have been bastards since 1300 AD.