Friday, April 20, 2007

Aristocratic Monkey Business

Californian Paul FitzGerald has lost his 30-year battle to be the 9th Duke of Leinster.

The attempt by Mr FitzGerald of San Francisco to claim the titles had been masterminded by his Aunt Theresa Caudhill, who claimed she was acting on her father’s deathbed wishes.

In her evidence she argued that a switch of identities had led to her father Desmond - the rightful heir who settled in America - being frozen out of the family during the Great War. [Link]
Desmond was thought to have died in the war while serving with the Irish Guards, but secretly (so the story goes) slipped off to Canada, where—like most immigrants—he "was supported by a trust fund and worked as a polo instructor."

Apropos of nothing, this is how the family chose its coat of arms:
The coat of arms of the Dukes of Leinster derives from the legend that John FitzGerald, 1st Earl of Kildare, as a baby in Woodstock Castle, was trapped in a fire when a monkey rescued him. The FitzGeralds then adopted a monkey as their crest, and occasionally use the additional motto Non immemor beneficii (Not forgetful of a helping hand). [Link]

Miriam Robbins

A YDNA test ought to clear that little situation right up.


Good point. According to this account, DNA from Desmond's exhumed body was submitted to the Lord Chancellor, but there is no indication that it was tested.

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