• Prince Charles and the fictionalised version of Vlad the Impaler aka Count Dracula. Vlad and Charles apparently share a bloodline. (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
For some of these famous folk, it seems they've got notoriety in their blood, as, like them, their ancestors were famous and powerful before them.
Genevieve Dwyer

22 Sep 2016 - 1:47 PM  UPDATED 28 Sep 2016 - 3:00 PM

Check out the unlikely historical figures that these famous folk descended from:


Prince Charles – Count Dracula (sort of)

Seems that vampire blood flows through the veins of the British royal family… well, sort of.

The famous Transylvanian ruler, Vlad III aka Vlad the Impaler who, according to legend, was the inspiration for fiction’s most famous vampire ‘Count Dracula’ -  is actually the ancestor of the British Royal.

The Prince is even quite open about it himself “Transylvania is in my blood,” he jokes in an interview from travel series Wild Carpatathia.

“The genealogy shows I am descended from Vlad the Impaler, so I do have a bit of a stake in the country…as it were.”

The Romanian National Tourist Office is apparently very fond of this snippet of information and use it regularly to promote the country.

Emma Watson – An actual witch

Emma of course came to fame for playing the magically gifted witch Hermione in the Harry Potter series, but according to ancestry.com, she’s also the descendent of Joan Playle  a 16th-century English woman from Essex county, who was “convicted of witchcraft” in 1592.

Robert Pattinson – Vlad the Impaler

In an even weirder twist, British heartthrob Robert Pattinson, famed for his lead-role in teen-vampire movie series Twilight, also shares a bloodline with the 5th-century Romanian ruler according to ancestry.com.

Hmmm, in turn that actually makes him a very distant cousin of Prince Harry and Wills.

Ben Affleck is descended from Slave Owners…. And he wishes you didn’t know

The Oscar-winning star got in hot water last year after censoring his family’s dodgy past when he appeared on the US program Finding My Roots.  Research turned up a slave-owning ancestor, about six generations back on Affleck’s mother’s side, known as 'Benjamin Cole' of Georgia.

After it emerged that Affleck had requested this to be edited out of his episode, he sheepishly owned up to it on Facebook. “I didn't want any television show about my family to include a guy who owned slaves. I was embarrassed,” he wrote.

Katharine Hepburn – Eleanor of Aquitaine

The legendary Hollywood actress famously won an Oscar for playing the 12th century French Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine to Peter O’Toole’s King Henry II in the 1968 film The Lion in Winter. So it’s especially interesting that her genealogy has been traced back to show that she’s a direct descendent of the royal.  

Duchess Kate - George Washington

Back in 2011, ahead of the royal wedding that saw Kate Middleton join the royal family, the New England Historic Genealogical Society published a book on her family genealogy, tracing her family tree back to America’s first President, George Washington.

According to this family tree Kate is Washington’s eighth cousin, seven times removed – which would also make her the distant cousin of American chat show host Ellen DeGeneres, who’s genealogy has also been traced back to the founding father.  

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Tom Hanks – Abraham Lincoln

Duchess Kate’s not the only one with presidential roots. Much-loved American actor Tom Hanks revealed his own connection to the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, when he was narrating a documentary about the iconic leader for National Geographic, titled Killing Lincoln. Hanks’s connection can be traced back to ‘Honest Abe’s’ mother, Nancy Hanks.

“So when I was at school, guess which president I was always doing essays on,” Hanks says in the documentary.

Pauline Hanson’s Middle Eastern origins

Let’s not forget Senator Hanson’s 12% - sorry 9% - Arabic blood. Here’s how she reacted when SBS asked her about it recently while shooting the documentary Pauline Hanson: Please Explain!

Watch Delta Goodrem, Julia Morris, Peter Garrett, Rachel Griffiths, Mal Meninga, Jane Turner, Shane Jacobson and John Newcombe feature in Season Eight of Who Do You Think You AreTuesdays at 7.30pm (AEST) on SBS.

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