In Light of the News about President Harding, a Reprint of “DNA Testing – Bring It On!”

president's daughterIn light of the big news about DNA confirming that President Harding was the father of a “love child,” reported first by the New York Times this morning, I am reprinting (see below) a blog entry posted here more than five years ago.

DNA TESTING – BRING IT ON (April 17, 2010)

I hereby put forth my public appeal for DNA testing to determine once and for all whether a “Prince Tudor” existed during the reign of Elizabeth Tudor, the First Elizabeth (1533-1603) of England.  Was Henry Wriothesley Earl of Southampton her son and heir to the throne?

Henry Wriothesley 3rd Earl of Southampton – In the Tower of London (1601-1603) – Was he the future Henry IX of England?

We now have Charles Beauclerk’s magnificent book Shakespeare’s Lost Kingdom, which further explores the idea that Edward de Vere Earl of Oxford was the son of Princess Elizabeth and Thomas Seymour, born in 1548, and that Henry Wriothesley Earl of Southampton was born in 1574 of mother-son incest, i.e., that Oxford and Elizabeth were his parents.  Paul Streitz writes of this “double Prince Tudor theory” in his book Oxford: Son of Queen Elizabeth I , and Beauclerk delivers a magnificent portrait of Edward de Vere’s identity crisis as it relates to his deeply divided life and authorship of the Shakespeare works.

My book The Monument demonstrates how Oxford wrote the Sonnets as a record of the truth for posterity that Southampton (the “fair youth”) was his son by the Queen and deserved to succeed her as King Henry IX of England.  (I don’t rule out the theory that Oxford himself was the Queen’s son, but do not use it to interpret the Sonnets; after all, I have enough on my plate!)

So bring it on — DNA testing for all this.  Is it possible to test the Southampton PT theory, i.e., to determine whether he was the son of Elizabeth?  Can DNA testing rule it out?

Anyone who might have answers is welcome to use the “comments” option below.  I’ll post your contributions here in the main blog section, if warranted.

Oh — Roland Emmerich’s movie Anonymous, starring Vanessa Redgrave as the Queen and due out next year, reportedly will contain that “double” PT theory as part of its story line, so the call for DNA testing may become much louder.  I hereby register my fervent support for such testing.

By the way, I’m halfway through reading James Shapiro’s book Contested Will, making fun of all us anti-Stratfordians.  I’ll wait to comment until I’m done reading, except to say that the book has nothing to do with genuine interest in the English renaissance that created “Shakespeare” — the great surge of literature and drama that occurred in Elizabeth’s reign during the 1560’s, 1570’s and 1580’s before the first [miraculous] appearance of the “Shakespeare” name in 1593.

It seems to me that those who applaud Shapiro’s attempts at mockery have no real interest in learning such genuine history leading to Shakespeare — real history that includes the Earl of Oxford as a central figure of this renaissance, a poet-dramatist and patron of writers and actors who was vitally connected to each of Shakespeare’s contemporary sources.  If you’re really interested in Shakespeare the man and artist, you have to study Oxford’s life and work, regardless of whether you accept that he himself was the great author.

Oh – I should mention that Shapiro quotes me inaccurately.  He quotes me as saying the works of Shakespeare are nonfiction dressed as fiction.  No, I said that about the Sonnets, not about all the other works.  The Sonnets are different.  They’re personal.  In the Sonnets the author uses the personal pronoun “I” to speak in his own voice, tell his own story.   And we Oxfordians do NOT believe that the works are “autobiographical,” but, rather, that Oxford drew upon many sources including aspects of his own life — in other words, they are works of the imagination based on life itself.  There’s a big difference between that and strict autobiography; and Shapiro, by stating that we think the works are autobiographical,  is setting up a straw man to knock down.

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  1. Paul:
    Thanks for the heads-up about Shakespeare’s Lost Kingdom…just ordered it from Amazon. I’m anxious to read it, as I thought Paul Streitz’ theories seemed plausible when I read his book a few years ago. Will share thoughts with you after I read it. But I know what you mean when you said you “already have a lot on your plate.” The double Tudor theory is something that’s hard to discuss in polite company! Takes a real open mind even to contemplate it.

    Also, I’ve been reading a number of Alison Weir’s books on Tudor England recently, just to gain more familiarity with the entire background and context in which Edward DeVere wrote. I’d highly recommend them. Read her book on Ann Boleyn, a couple on Elizabeth’s life (before and after coronation), and just finished the one on the War of Roses. Starting today the one on Mary, Queens of Scots.

    Thanks again!

    • Great to hear from you, Gary. And will take up those recommendations. Seems it’s a never-ending subject matter!

  2. Sorry Hank…mistakenly addressed you as Paul.

  3. Thank you for your blog.

    As a reader of ample sources and occasional writer, I always experienced something strange with the man who retired to Stratford to live there with his theater money, leaving his opus (his “heir” for sure) behind. I know the feeling one possess for his creations. Bene.

    Now, once week ago I started to know the truth thanks to Internet (no library has in a Shakespeare section anything about de Vere) and Mr. Looney (God sive Natura bring him peace).

    I started to inform my literary friends in Facebook. This is what happened as their response:

    a) “I don’t believe Edward de Vere could write with passion and drama.” I reply that “I couldn’t expecto you to read his works, as you don’t read scientific works that demolish your catholity. I had one friend less. Amicus Plato sed magis amica veritas.

    b) “What does it matter who was “Shakespeare”? And I replied to this friend: “As a writer yourself you know the essential importance between author and work. Morever, someone may say, I wrote, “What does it matter where the Sun is, whether it is in the center or not? It matters ALL for our comprenhesion of our lives and enviroment.

    The Oxfordian theory or scientific TRUTH (in Karl Popper or Santayana’s terms) is it a truth BECAUSE it EXPLAINS with a high amount of probability what is ocurring in Shakespeare’s literary opus.

    Your blog is superb, anyway.

    • It’s good to have these conversations. Good to share the experience.

  4. If Bertrand Russell (God sive Natura grant him rest for his honest and clear mind) were living today, he would say on this question:

    “The scepticism that I advocate amounts only to this:

    (1) that when the experts are agreed, the opposite opinion cannot be held to be certain;
    (2) that when they are not agreed, no opinion
    can be regarded as certain by a non-expert; and
    (3) that when they all hold that no sufficient grounds for a positive opinion exist, the ordinary man would do well to suspend his judgment.

    These propositions may seem mild, yet, if accepted, they would absolutely revolutionize human life.” From “The value of scepticism.”

    Now, on this question, Shapiro and, for instance (the last books I’ve read on the stratfordian side), Peter Akroyd and Harold Bloom (he mocks at the de Vere theory in his “Shakespeare”) DO NOT STUDY the Sonnets implications for they say (Akroyd) that they are “invented” “impersonal”. Sonnets impersonal! If Petrarca, Dante and Quevedo lifts their heads!

    Following Russell’s rules on scepticism, the laymen must, following b), have no opinion as certain.

    I consider myself an expert in literature (Spanish, Russian, French, and English), specially Shakespeare, Santayana (North-American), and Chesterton, and my surprised is for those “experts” that, being writers as well, do not feel shame to declare that a piece of passionate and intense formal poetry, as the Sonnets form is, is contained with “invented” phrases.

    As with Galileo, your real expertise on de Vere will be counted 50 years (or less) hence. In the meantime, all you can do is forgive them, for “people are not born stupid; it is education that make them stupid.”

    Until children are educated in their schools that Shakespeare is Edward de Vere, as the old stratfordias were educated he was Shaspere, no great change of people’s conscience will occured.

    They mock Darwin and his ape theory, as they mock Loonie and his de Vere one.

    These are our times, and as de Vere wrote in Timon:

    1 Lord: What time o’day is’t, Apemantus?
    Apemantus: Time to be honest.
    1 Lord: That time serves still.
    Apemantus: The more accursed thou that still omit’st it.

  5. Can someone ask Charles Beauclerk why, if Vere was a Tudor as CB claims, he wrote nothing about his (alleged) great-grandfather Henry VII, and allowed Fletcher (or someone) to write about his grandfather Henry VIII? Why the preferential treatment for the Veres in the plays, if they represented in fact a spurious ancestry? Why the ubiquitous wordplay on ‘Ver’ and its cognates , why not on ‘Tudor’? Why did Vere care about “Suns and Stars” if he wasn’t a Vere (see Richard Desper’s fine note here

    • I’ll ask him for you and post any answers I find. Thanks for the questions.

      • I had asked him by personal email but received no reply. How to make friends and influence people ……

    • Your question is very good, and I happen to think about myself.

      After much consideration, I find myself this answer:

      1.- Edward was a bastard. He was not recognised as royal.

      2.- As a royal bastard, however, he had an official identity the court recognised: he was the 17th Earl of Oxford.

      3.- In the histories we have, then, these two identities, the one private, the other public. The private one is the bastard. And hence, we ear many bastards talking about their sufferings. The public identity, Oxford, we hear as well and recognise.

      4.- If Edward had not put his oxfordian identity forward, nobody, not even we now, could have guessed who could have written those works. The oxfordian mask is the public mask we now know.

      5.- The Shakespeare mask is another and, as in Nabokov, so in Edward, we are surrounded by masks of the same author. And as Nabokov put his name “Vladimir Nabokov” to his books, so Edward put his “never and ever” to his.

      6.- He could not put “Tudor” to his works, for censure would have prevented it. As they are, the works have an underground layer of “suns and stars” as symbols of “sons and royal heirs”.

      7.- I am not a bastard nor an adopted son who has disvored later in life who his real father and mother are, but it is logical that they feel that they are the son of both parents, the legal (or adopted, Oxford) and the bastard (or natural, Tudor).

      8.- In the 1609 quarto of “Measure for Measure” there was portraid the Tudor rose. The quarto was immediately prohibited.

      9.- Henry VII was not portrayed by Edward because, as the (legal or adopted) son of Oxford, that king took lands from his adopted family, and therefore was excluded from his pen as a retribution.

      10.- The mental confusion of Edward as legal son and natural (royal) son at the same time is the key, as Mr. Beauclerck maintains (and it seems plausible according to the traces in the works, until a better theory is discovered) of the question. “To be or not to be” king or earl, poet or writer, actor or drama writer, son of Elisabeth or husband of Elisabeth, Shakespeare or Shakxpere. And the end he shouts: nothing, or silence, or dumb, or never, never, never, never!

      • That’s a fantastic assessment, Ricardo.

  6. Hi Hank:

    Finished “Shakespeare’s Lost Kingdom” today…you were right…it’s a magnificant book. Like you, I would highly recommend it to all Oxfordians (at least those with sufficiently open minds…not so sure about the others). It should probably come with a warning label: “Caution…Not for the faint of heart!”

    After reading it, I was overcome with the emotions: “Thank God I’m an Oxfordian”, and “Thank God I’ve been blessed with an open mind!” Can you imagine ever trying to make sense of the Shakespeare cannon if you’ve been hoodwinked into believing that the author is the vapid Will Shakspere? Unfortunately, that’s the task our Stratfordian friends are saddled with. Good luck! My feeling right now for them is actually one of pity. “Shakespeare’s Lost Kingdom” demonstrates just how hopeless their task is. We, on the other hand, because we are not afraid to challenge the weak, reigning Stratfordian paradigm, are able to fully appreciate the greatest works in the English language. The Stratfordians will never be able to do this.

    When I read Paul Streitz’s book a few years ago, I thought he made convincing arguments for his conclusions, especially the controversial double Tudor Rose theory. I don’t think the book got the exposure it warrented, so I was glad to see this theme developed and augmented so thoroughly by Mr. Beauclerk. As he demonstrates, the Shakespeare works are literally teeming with the themes of incest, familial dysfunction, lost identity, and the lost throne. I thought Chapter Six, “Identity Crisis”, was worth the price of the book by itself.

    For someone like myself who was originally attracted to the authorship question more from the historical perspective than the literary one (being educated in the science department, not the English department), this was the best reconnection of the evidence for Oxford to the plays since “The Mysterious William Shakespeare”. I thought the second half of the book was extremely valuable in this regard.

    I’ve been following the Shakespeare-authorship question for over twenty years. For my money, the best books in the last ten years have been Paul Streitz’s book; your book, “The Monument” (finally making sense of the Sonnets); and now Charles Beauclerk’s “Shakespeare’s Lost Kingdom”. Yes…we open-minded Oxfordians are indeed fortunate!

    Thanks again for your recommendation of this important book.

  7. I share your interest in employing dna to prove the parentage of Southampton.
    According to my own studies, I believe that Southampton was the Queen’s son
    but fathered by either Leicester or Hatton.

    I don’t, however, go along with the Oxford theory: Shakespeare led a life
    that was knowingly evasive but not because he was a lord. There were other
    reasons but you’ll have to wait for my book to come out….

    • Tell us more about yourself and your book, Peter. Do you have a title for it? Any idea when it will be published? Any ideas about how to spark a genuine DNA test to prove the parentage of Southampton? Thanks for the comments. Hank

  8. I don’t understand what it would take to obtain trustworthy DNA test result.

    From whose bodies would you need to extract DNA to do a test? Elizabeth and Southampton’s, I assume, and nobody else (unless one of Southampton’s descendants would do).

    From whom would you need to get permission to exhume these bodies? The ruling monarch? The head of the Anglican Church? Who controls access?

    If there is even a hint of a possibility that Elizabeth had a son, I imagine these authorities would be unlikely to give you permission. So, how do you propose to do get this DNA for a test?

    Would testing Elizabeth and Henry’s hair or body cells (from on their clothing perhaps, which might exist in a museum?) give you an answer?

    Anybody know?

    • All these are great questions, Kathryn, and I hope one of our readers can tell how to get answers. I must make an effort to use my own reporting experience, i.e., give myself an assignment as a journalist. Thanks for nudging on this! Best, Hank

  9. The book of Mr. Beauclerk is a bombshell.

    I’m still on page 97 but I have confirmed this that I thought before reading this book:

    1.- The strange behaviour of his mother Mary Golding.

    1.- The queen saying to Edward that he was a bastard.

    This book is powerful.

    • Great. Let us know any thoughts or questions. Thanks – Hank

  10. The book prasis your work, Mr. Whittemore, as the “author of the definitive work on Shakespeare’s Sonnets, “The Monument”, and a true pioneer of the new Shakespeare paradigm.” Congratulations.

    Mr. Beauclerck’s book is a supernova explosion of light that illuminates the Shakespeare’s galaxy. The author, more than a historian, is a physcologis of the Viena school, with Freud and Jung by his allies. As Freud’s subconscious theory is now declining among scientist (vide Peter Jackson, “Ideas”), that is the weakes point of the book for every enemy of de Vere as the real author.

    As another commentator has said above, it doesn’t matter. We have, now, another great key with which to enjoy Shakespeare.

    I am going to read Mr. Beauclerk’s book again.

  11. Mr. Beauclerk chapter comments on Bottom and Titania reminds me of Jean Kott’s “Shakespeare, our contemporary”.

    Both works use freudian psychology and both arrive at different results: Mr. Kott, thinking Shakespeare bisexual, comments that Bottom, and his ass head, stands for sexual animal power to which Titania dreams subconsciously to copulate, but doesn’t want to remember.

    Mr. Beauclerck, thinking Shakespeare to be Edward, the son of Elisabeth, excludes bisexuality in him, and comments that he, as son with a mother and father in Elisabeth, both woman and powerful (masculine) power, so that Bottom does not remember the dream because the dream is the truth Edward cannot tell: that he is a prince in the line of succesion.

    For me, Mr. Beauclerck results make much more sense.

  12. First of all, I apologize for the appearance of the array below–the text box would not accept color, bold type, an increase in font size, or allow me to lighten most of the letters to gray scale so as to create highlighting of the encryption within the plaintext.

    I found this particular letter-string (I only show “DEVERE”–however, an enhanced version, as well as other arrays of Sonnet 76 I also have) in late 2008. I’m just finishing an article about this stunning encryption for publication (amongst other things I talk about are the significance of the letter-string being found in array 14, the presence of “ERLE” connected to “DEVERE”, the last letter in the letter-string, reading vertically from bottom to top–the “E”–is in row 17; and a host of other wonderful “coincidences”, many will say.

    When I submit this comment, there is a good chance the text box will garble this aligned set of letters. If this happens, this comment will be useless, and probably should be deleted.

    Incidentally, the raw probabilities (to be taken perhaps with a grain of salt, as the best we can do at a distance of 400 years is an ad hoc approach) calculated for this letter-string is:
    1 in 8 million, five hundred thousand that the message in the plaintext is not a random occurrence, nor a chance happening; but rather strongly points to/suggests intelligent design.

    Sonnet 76
    Array 14

    W H Y I S M Y V E R S E S O
    B A R R E N O F N E W P R I
    D E S O F A R F R O M V A R
    I A T I O N O R Q V I C K E
    C H A N G E W H Y W I T H T
    H E T I M E D O I N O T G L
    A N C E A S I D E T O N E W
    F O V N D M E T H O D S A N
    D T O C O M P O V N D S S T
    R A N G E W H Y W R I T E I
    S T I L L A L L O N E E V E
    R T H E S A M E A N D K E E
    P E I N V E N T I O N I N A
    N O T E D W E E D T H A T E
    V E R Y W O R D D O T H A L

    M O S T T E L [M Y N A M E’ S]
    H E W I N G T H [E] I R B I R ( Row 17 )
    T H A N D W H E [R] E T H E Y
    D I D P R O C E [E] D O K N O
    W S W E E T L O [V] E I A L W
    A I E S W R I T [E] O F Y O V
    A N D Y O V A N [D] L O V E A

    R E S T I L L M Y A R G U M
    E N T S O A L L M Y B E S T
    I S D R E S S I N G O L D W
    O R D S N E W S P E N D I N
    G A G A I N E W H A T I S A
    L R E A D Y S P E N T F O R
    A S T H E S U N I S D A I L
    Y N E W A N D O L D S O I S
    M Y L O V E S T I L L T E L
    L I N G W H A T I S T O L D

    The best,

    Dr. J.S. Ferris
    Palo Alto, CA

    • This is quite remarkable. Do you know how Oxford would go about creating it this way? Other readers may well have comments on this. Thanks so much for checking in with it. Tell us more any time. Best wishes from Hank

  13. Hi, Hank–Thank you so much for getting back to me. So very few people are willing to give codes/encryptions (the bulk are Oxfordians) a second look–I sort of get the opinion they look at them and turn away in fear of developing ulcers on their corneas.

    First of all, the array is quite remarkable. In about five minutes of typing, you can see the array as I did. I use what was used at the time by one-time employees (government/Crown spies, I should say) of Sir Francis Walsingham (Edward de Vere, Christopher Marlowe, to name a few of the more well-known to us), the infamous spymaster under Elizabeth I, arguably the most powerful (in the practical sense) man in Elizabethan England, with the possible exception of Lord Burghley. Walsingham, as you know, manipulated the famous encryption/cipher of Mary to say (when I believe she did not) she was plotting against Elizabeth. Edward de Vere was on the jury, and was the only dissient vote when it came time to vote for Mary’s death. This aspect of code nefarious manipulation is well- known, and not my opinion, even though I agree with it).

    I use a skip/shift-of one transposition cipher method to produce the arrays. Just create a new blank page on your word processor (I use Pages, as I have a Mac), go to “tabs” and set it for .25. I use all caps and begin where I want–usually at a skip of fourteen. When you are typing an array with any given plaintext, eliminate the punctuation and spaces between individual letters. For example, if your first line is: When in the course of human events, type:
    W H E N I N T H E C O U R S
    E O F H –and so forth, so the letters in the array are perfectly spaced. In the case of Sonnet 76, the plaintext, when typed this way, produces a “perfect array”, a perfect rectangle–unusual for a plaintext, but great when you get one–and do this to the end of the plaintext (a complete sonnet, let’s say). The idea is that what is being produced is a Cardano Grille. However, I don’t buy that theory as I believe the sonnets were personal correspondence, and were not written (at least at the time) for publication. When one knows the keyword (s), checking the vertical letters will produce a message, if one is there. There should be a correlation between: the subject matter in the plaintext (what everyone sees), the message produced in the vertical letter-string (s) and the correspondence of the content and message with some aspect of the personal/private life of Edward de Vere. When this happens, it gives you chills, and has, on a number of occasions, produced tears in me. By the time I finish a sonnet, I have done arrays from 2 or 3 to 40 or 50. I have been working with a scientist friend of mine whose guidance and feedback is indispensable.

    I can personally send you lots of my finds–and especially Array 14 of Sonnet 76–if you wish to see what they look like. I have no way of sending attachments for your blog site, but you are able, as administrator of your site, to place floating objects in what you have to say. “Seeing” what is being claimed “is” a must. Unless someone goes to the trouble of typing the array out, letter by letter, s/he cannot understand nor be impacted by the visual impact of an array I believe is the result of intelligent design.

    Richard Malim (The De Vere Society, UK) responded to me that he is dead set against codes and tomb excavations–yet said he was impressed by the find in Sonnet 76.

    If you have an e-mail (personal and/or business) that can accept attachments, I can send what I have. I welcome this chance, if you wish, and hope you find things offered to be of interest.

    As a postscript–I have written several “bogus” poems imitating Elizabethan poetry, into which I have placed absurd encryptions–to demonstrate to any reader how easy this is to do. There are so many statements within the plaintext of William Shakespeare’s works, I have barely begun to work on them.

    In short, why would William Shakespeare of Stratford-on-Avon encrypt a message saying: “My name’s De Vere”? Either de Vere did this, or someone else did. “Why” is what many of us are trying to figure out.

    Thanks again for welcoming me and any comments I may have, to your wonderful website/blog.

    The best to you,


  14. Hi,
    Yes & No.
    YDNA (male-line) testing is of course available.
    But it’s a catch-22.
    Are we looking for somebody alive with the surname of Wriothesely, Seymour, Southampton or something else? The onus probably falls upon the SEYMOUR YDNA PROJECT (I think there is at least one) to try to identify which male Seymour(s) today might be YDNA descended from Prince Tudor. It is not impossible. There might be special clues in the YDNA.
    Seymour’s should ideally take the 67 marker test eg: with the best firm; called FAMILY TREE DNA
    ( )

    • Thanks for the information. Will try to find out more. There are two PT theories in conjunction:

      1. Thomas Seymour and Elizabeth Tudor were parents of Edward de Vere, born in 1548.

      2. Elizabeth Tudor and Edward de Vere were parents of Henry Wriothesley, born in 1574.

  15. Hank and J.S.,

    I was wondering if you knew of the article by John M Rollett concerning ciphers in Shakespeare’s sonnets. For your reading pleasure…

    Click to access to-99-rollet-dedication.pdf

    I found it fascinating when I first read it a few years ago, and your discussion (above) has prompted me to read it again.

    • It’s a fine solution, elegant, and adds to the idea that the Sonnets are meant to preserve the truth. Thanks for the reminder and the link.

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