The Last King

“The Last King” premiered on A&E last night. It was about the life and times of Charles II, King of England, and many of the family members, friends, and enemies whose lives were intertwined with his.

It is difficult for Kristine and me to imagine watching a movie like this without being able to enhance our enrichment by exploring the Family Forest digital maps of the ancestral pathways leading to and from those people.

Who were they? Where did they come from? Who were their descendants? What are some of those descendants doing today?

Before the movie, we checked the Family Forest to set the stage for what we were going to be watching. Some preliminary thoughts were shared last week. Other discoveries were found during and after the movie.

For historical perspective, Family Forest 20-generation ancestor charts can fill in 39,169 boxes for the wife of Charles II, Catherine of Braganza, 135,252 boxes for the mother of Charles II, Henrietta Maria of France, and 130,472 boxes for the father of Charles II, Charles I, King of England.

Sir Edward Hyde, Lord High Chancellor of England and tutor to Charles II in exile, is lineage-linked to at least one internationally known celebrity descendant in the Family Forest, Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York. In addition to having been the wife of a Prince, she has been the spokeswoman for Weight Watchers and a presenter at the 2004 Golden Globe Awards.

At least five more of Sarah Ferguson’s ancestors, according to the ancestral history mapped out in the Family Forest, were portrayed in the movie. They were Charles II, one of his mistresses and their son, and Charles’s parents.

The sister of Charles II, Henrietta Anne, married Philip I, Duke of Orleans, and became the ancestor of King Michael of Rumania and King Juan Carlos of Spain. The brother of Charles II, James II, is one of the ancestors of Princess Diana.

Searching for the titles of the nobility mentioned in the movie also adds interesting perspective, and sets the stage for greater understanding of the characters and the historical events.

There are probably more than ten million living descendants from just the named characters in this movie, and probably more than one hundred million more living descendants from the unnamed characters surrounding them.

Being able to visually see maps of the ancestral pathways leading to and from the people who lived at that exciting point in history can greatly enhance enjoyment of movies like “The Last King.”