The popular BBC1 programme focused on Rowling's interesting family history.
It followed her late mother’s French roots, starting with her maternal great-grandfather, Louis Volant. Rowling’s family had been convinced that Louis received the prestigious Légion d'honneur for bravery during World War I. Rowling also received that award for her contribution to literature for the popular Harry Potter series.
The family tale was proved wrong as the award-winning Louis Volant was an unrelated man with the same name as her great-grandfather. However, her great-grandfather was in fact similar to Rowling.
Like Rowling, he had started from nothing and worked his way up to the top of his profession as head wine waiter (sommelier) at the London Savoy. When the war broke, Louis was forced to return to France where he was awarded the equally commendable Croix de Guerre for exceptional bravery in defending the village of Courcelles-le-Comte.
Rowling was also surprised by the discovery that her great-great-great grandmother, great-great-grandmother and great-grandmother were all - like herself - single mothers.
Is it just pure coincidence or could it be that your ancestry shapes the person you are today? Rowling herself has stated “It is humbling to see yourself as a tiny part of a huge family tree, but it is also strangely reassuring.”
Tune in next Wednesday to watch Sebastian Coe, former Olympic gold medal winner and chairman of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games, delve into his family’s past and find out whether his grandmother’s claims about a privileged ancestry are true. Were Lord Coe’s family all born with silver spoons in their mouths?
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