Richard III featured

Questions raised about the legitimacy of the Plantagenet kings by DNA of Richard III.


We now know that an adulterous affair had broken the male line in Richard III‘s family tree.


In attempts to answer the resulting questions, further genetic testing was done on the skeleton of Richard III, which had been found in 2012 under a parking lot in Leicester.

King Edward III Plantagenet
King Edward III

More recent genetic testing was done, where the Y chrosomes of five male relatives of Henry Somerset were compared with those of Richard III. These five are also believed to descend from Edward III, Richard III’s great great grandfather.

Henry Somerset, 5th Duke of Beaufort
Henry Somerset, 5th Duke of Beaufort

The results showed that the expected match between Richard III and the five descendants of Henry Somerset did not exist, indicating that there had been at least one instance of an illegitimate child born from an affair.

In an attempt to investigate further, they tested the DNA of Patrice de Warren of France, who could trace his family tree back to Richard III via Count Geoffrey of Anjou.

If Patrice de Warren’s DNA showed a match with Richard III, the male line must have been broken between Edward III and the Somerset line. If his DNA matched that of Henry Somerset, the suspect affair would have occurred between Edward III and Richard III.

Shockingly, the test did not validate either theory as de Warren’s DNA was not a match to Henry Somerset or Richard III. This indicates that there must have been a second affair somewhere in the same lines.

If Patrice de Warren was found to match the Plantagenet DNA, then that of Richard III’s line and Henry Somerset’s line were the result of affairs outside the House of Plantagenet.

It is difficult to determine when the affairs occurred, but it is likely to have happened in the generations between Geoffrey, Count of Anjou and Patrice de Warren. If that line is proved to be valid, then there must have been an affair between Richard III and the Count of Anjou.

Although these findings don’t affect the modern monarchy, they could undermine the lineages of the Stuart, Tudor and Windsor lines.

The DNA of the de Warrens in the United States and Australia, and males from the family of the Duke of Beaufort are likely to be tested in an attempt to answer these questions, thereby avoiding invasive efforts such as exhuming bodies.