|With the addition of less than a dozen new
people Katharine Hepburn the actress was just
connected to more than 4,000 different people
that, according to recorded history, she would
have called grandmother or grandfather (preceded
by some number of "greats").
as it still amazes me to achieve results like
this with the addition of so few people, what
really caught my attention was a simple question:
Did she know?
While Katharine Hepburn was portraying Eleanor
of Aquitaine in " The Lion in Winter
did she know that Eleanor of Aquitaine was one of
her own ancestors? Furthermore, she was descended
from Eleanor in numerous lines, from both her
marriage to Louis VII, King of France (whose son
was portrayed by Timothy Dalton in "The Lion
in Winter") and her marriage to Henry II,
King of England (portrayed by Peter O'Toole in
"The Lion in Winter").
Did she pause to think that if these colorful
figures from history had not lived, Katharine
Hepburn would not even have existed?
In her autobiography "
Me : Stories of My Life " she makes no mention of any ancestral
connection to either Eleanor of Aquitaine or
James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell (the ill-fated
husband of another historical figure Katharine
portrayed, Mary, Queen of Scots). I'm assuming
she didn't know.
What difference might it have made to
Katharine Hepburn if she did know?
What difference will it make to most viewers
of "The Lion in Winter" when they
discover that they too were descended from
Eleanor of Aquitaine in numerous lines?
A Lion in Winter Chart showing some descendants
of Eleanor of Aquitaine, and some descendants of King Phillip II of France, can
be seen here.