My family could be sitting on the throne of England. We have always known we are related to the Queen of England as shirttail relatives. An invitation should have arrived weeks ago. We could have flown over last week to meet the family. We would have stayed at the palace, enjoying the grand life with the royals on this happy occasion.
The royals have no idea their blood runs through my veins. But I wonder if my DNA could be a little bluer since it comes directly from George IV. I cannot get Elizabeth or Charles to go to a local clinic for a blood test. Their family could be sitting on my throne wearing my crown.
My connection comes from ‘the other side of the sheets’ so to say. Sorry to tell you but I am descended from an 18th century one-night stand.
In 1990, I contacted the ‘Descendants of the Illegitimate Sons and Daughters of the Kings of Britain.’ Weeks later, I received a very serious note written in a true British tone. Enclosed was a long list of rules for filling out the application. I had to prove my family connections and send a check for $100. The major problem is that good old George IV did not publicly acknowledge my third great grandmother.
Many kings had well-known mistresses. When these women became with child everyone knew it was the king’s and he publicly acknowledged them. Easy for them to join this exclusive society, but not me. My husband, the judge, said how do you prove illegitimacy? It is almost impossible. Get a life, Lynne. Stop dreaming of owning an English castle. He offered to buy me a royal blue sapphire for $99 from a catalogue. Will this make me content? I wonder. I still dream of being a royal.
My Great Aunt Ruth has kept our royal family history for years. I have her letters telling us this family secret. Honestly, her letters alone should be more than enough proof that we belong ‘over the pond’ with a title and castle.
My Fifth Great Grandfather, John Tretheway, was a gardener in Cornwall. He worked on estates in Cornwall. John and his wife had a daughter named Jennifer. She was an ‘upstairs maid’ and was said to be ‘especially good with the laces.’
Prince George often traveled throughout his “Duchy of Cornwall” staying at friends’ estates. Aunt Ruth wrote about one visit where George, then about 60, had a romantic night upstairs with Jennifer. How could this young, innocent, country girl say ‘no’ to a prince? He probably showered her with kisses and promises. The result was a baby girl. Jennifer showed the baby to ‘Hizzoner” saying she had a nameless child. Prince George said, “Oh, no.” “Call her Loveday and she will be baptized with a name.” The child grew up in Cornwall with her grandparents and took their last name.
The years passed and Prince George became king. He married Caroline and ruled for many years. He went blind, mad and died. His brother, William IV, became King. The new king and Queen Adelaide had no children. The queen wanted to find and help George’s illegitimate children who were all over Britain. Loveday married Thomas Bullock and eventually the “crown” paid their passage to America.
Their first baby died at sea and Thomas, died arriving in America. Thomas’ brother James met the ship. He married Loveday and they started a new life in America.
The Bullocks traveled to Market Place, Iowa, where they homesteaded and built a sod house. I find it interesting that most of their children were given royal names. One son wrote Loveday’s story after her death but it is lost to history.
This is a family secret that has never been told. My English family thought it was an embarrassing and scandalous story. Grandfather Taylor use to say, “You are American now; we don’t talk about the past.”
My connection to Loveday has always made me interested in British royalty. I look forward to watching ‘The Wedding’ mainly because of my distant claim to the throne. I picture my family sitting there during the service, dressed in beautiful clothes, wearing our crowns and family jewels. Sadly, I know I will never be invited to London to ride in the royal carriage, or give a royal wave to the crowds wearing my beautiful (fake) sapphire ring.
Perhaps if I had filled out those papers long ago and sent a check, I could be there right now. I would be enjoying the royal wedding as a newly found cousin. I could have worn the closest thing I have to a crown, my ‘gold foil hat.’
(Lynne Champlin lives in Napa.)