MyHeritage Reveals: Boris Johnson Is Related to the New EU President

MyHeritage Reveals: Boris Johnson Is Related to the New EU President

Brexit may be compared to a messy divorce, but it turns out that the concept of a family feud may be more than metaphorical. MyHeritage has discovered that Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the UK, is distantly related to Dr. Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission.

The UK Prime Minister, whose full name is Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, comes from a fairly diverse background: his father’s ancestry includes Turkish as well as European origins, and he is 5th cousins twice removed with Queen Elizabeth II. His maternal great-grandmother was a Russian Jewish immigrant to the U.S., and he held dual U.S.-U.K. citizenship until renouncing the former in 2016.

Dr. Ursula von der Leyen, who began her term as president of the European Commission on December 1, is mostly descended from natives of Hanover and Bremen in Germany, though she has an American great-grandmother of British, French, Italian, and Baltic heritage.

Using, MyHeritage researchers discovered that they have a family connection dating back to the marriage of John and Margaret de Beauchamp in the 1400s. The connection makes Johnson and von der Leyen 16th cousins.

Upon hearing the news that he and Ursula are family, Johnson commented in the Sunday Express, “‘This is total news to me.’ He then joked, ‘Before I became foreign secretary I strategically stationed my ancestors around the world. They are everywhere.’’

The Brexit drama has put the U.K. on a constant collision course with Brussels, and Johnson has already clashed with von der Leyen by declining her request to put forward a candidate to represent the European Union’s executive.

Who knows? Maybe learning that they have this family connection will help soften the negotiations!


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  • Steve Shepard

    January 22, 2020

    Boris Johnson and Dr.Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, are16th cousins? One thing I have discovered through the almost endless line of emails from MyHeritage DNA Match notifications (from my perception) is that I must be 3rd to 5th cousins with multiple thousands upon thousands of people. Being 16th cousins with someone really shouldn’t be something to brag about. BoJo is probably 16th cousins with half of Europe!