DNA Confirms President Harding’s Love Child — Reprinting a Blog Post about DNA and Prince Tudor

president's daughter

Nan Britton, mistress of the 29th president, with daughter Elizabeth Ann Britton (1931)

Nan Britton, mistress of the 29th president, with daughter Elizabeth Ann Britton (1931)

In 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 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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9 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Hmm, a DNA test would be nice to put down this theory for once, but I don’t think it will ever happen…

    You see, Whittemore, in the 70’s, many Egyptologists asked a laboratory to date some artifacts from the young Tutankhamun’s tomb by carbon-14. But many months after this, nothing came. Finally, the British Museum came forth and revelead the results of the tests: those artifcats that were keep quiet in the ancient tomb were dated to the first half of the 9th century BC, and the Museum said the authorities and experts wanted silence on the matter, because they were waiting for dates among the 14th century BC.

    Even more recently, the Cairo Museum disdained a Japanese team’s request to take DNA samples from the remains of Tutankhamun and from the Pharaoh Amenhotep III, reportedly the young king’s grandfather. Because there is still controversy about the paternity of the king. But the Museum said no: they were afraid of Israel’s reaction to whatever the results would be, because some people who are devoted to their Judeo-Christian beliefs try to rewrite Egypt’s history to accomodate the Old Testament. The Museum is totally against any kind of reconstructions that are faith-based, or too far-fetched.

    What I want to say is: Shakespeare is a British icon, to admit that he was a pen-name of someone else is not only to hurt a kingdom’s pride and history, but would explode among in the lives of those spent in selling all things shakespearean. To make DNA tests on Southamtpon and the Virgin Queen would mean that the History of England was put in cause, and Stratfordians would certainly try to sabotage the samples of these politician’s remains. Even if the results were what we expected (I personally became an agnostic in the theme of the Dark Lady and the Fair Youth), Southampton would become Tutankhamun, the Sonnets the artifacts and the History drowned in a mist: the results would be hidden from public, or lied about, and the interpretation of the Sonnets sabotaged for the sake of keep History as it is. Historians, themselves, are usually lazy to rewrite History when evidences point it out…

    I wish things would be different, but if even the Royal Family in Britain has it’s own position on the question of the authorship, it would become a matter that would touch everyone, with the power to ruin lives and tear books apart. It’s a snowball effect: the moment someone would put his or her foot in Elizabeth’s grave to take DNA, the media would explode, and so would many Stratfordians, and others too. I don’t think we will ever know the truth about the PT Theory…

  2. To get your DNA samples, would you have to open the graves of both Elizabeth and Henry Wriothesley? And if you did accomplish this, and had a clear match, you would not know the identity of the father, would you? Since we don’t have Oxford’s grave, would you have to dig up one of his children? Just curious what the process would be.

    • I don’t know if I’m the right guy to answer you, but yes, the queen’s grave and the earl’s would have to be open. DNA can’t be taken from things like ornaments by now, I guess, given that they would be corrupted by the many elements Nature has I think. But if Southamtpon and Queen were mother and son, the identity of the father would remain unknown, given that we don’t have Oxford’s remains. The only alleles that could be evaluated would be those of the Queen and Southampton. Yet, any alleles that couldn’t be identified as from the Queen could be compared to those of Oxford’s daughters, so their remains should be used too, given that they would have some alleles in common with Southampton if they were half-sisters.

      • Thanks, Francisco. I am not qualified to speak on the science of it, but I like your comment.

    • Probably what Francisco suggests. Thanks for the question. Wish I could answer — all I know is that I welcome any valid testing and/or way of knowing more than we can know at this time.

  3. While it is true that getting the go ahead to test the DNA of the possible mother, Queen Elizabeth 1, and her suspected son, Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton, will be a feat fraught with enough political and cultural drama to out-do anything ever seen on an afternoon soap opera. It is also true that having the DNA scientific proof will finally provide a criterial linchpin at the heart of the authorship question and that it is the question that will never go away until it is resolved.

    There is a definite irony that if their mortal remains, like the long lost remains of Richard III, had been found in some field somewhere—there would be no problem doing DNA testing. In fact, it would be deemed absolutely necessary to have under take those tests in order to sure. But because they are housed in their final lofty resting places—Westminster Abbey and the parish church of Titchfield, Hampshire UK—they become enveloped in a seal of impermeable sacred protection that must not be broken.

    So there’s the political—which involves the academic guardians as well as the actual political actors of the day—on top of the ecclesiastical guardians of public morays and traditions. It’s a very high and lofty mountain indeed to even think of trying to climb. But the height will have to be climbed in order to solve the problem because the problem is not going to go away until the truth comes out.

    There is also a further irony in the fact that the fans of the real Richard III (joining with powerful orthodox societal forces) didn’t like the injustice of Shakespeare’s version of Richard becoming the approved image that history has of him—so their efforts to change that narrative was the impetus behind their quest to go out and find his last resting place and mortal remains. As impossible as it seemed that they would ever be found after 500 years—they successfully located them in the first location they dug in at a Leicester car park! The actual historical records had proven very good indeed.

    If nothing else we need our own fans to pull in some extra brave, powerful societal forces—(if such there be)—to make it a priority to find the mortal remains of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford.
    Anyone from the outside who watched, read or heard from the orthodox Stratfordians as they stuck their fingers in their ears while droning on and on that “there’s nothing to discuss—all has been decided—you’re all a bunch of snobs” and refusing to even read, hear or discuss what has been found, especially over the last 95 years would know that they betray their real fear that they have offered their allegiance to the wrong man. Why else would they so thoroughly make sure to close off all their informational receptors?

    If their faith was really strong—then they would not fear the battle to defend it. If they truly believed we are wrong and they are right, then they would become our powerful orthodox societal force to help find the Edward de Vere’s final resting place and mortal remains and not fear the consequences. Further, if found and then proved to be the author—and if they truly are the scholars of Shakespeare they claim—they would join in rejoicing the discovery.

    It all seems a bit impossible now with the so far impenetrable orthodox Stratford mountain still blocking us but we still must hope that some will be find the courage to overcome their own fears and prejudices to do the right thing.

    If nothing else, they will always know that they accomplished something even more astonishing than finding Richard III’s final resting place. They have solved the greatest mystery in literature and finally freed the tormented soul that calls out in Sonnet 81:

    Or I shall live your epitaph to make,
    Or you survive when I in earth am rotten,
    From hence your memory death cannot take,
    Although in me each part will be forgotten.
    Your name from hence immortal life shall have,
    Though I, once gone, to all the world must die:
    The earth can yield me but a common grave,
    When you entombed in men’s eyes shall lie.
    Your monument shall be my gentle verse,
    Which eyes not yet created shall o’er-read;
    And tongues to be your being shall rehearse,
    When all the breathers of this world are dead;
    You still shall live, such virtue hath my pen,
    Where breath most breathes, even in the mouths of men.

    We at least have a couple of places to look; first the parish church of St. Augustine, Hackney (not believed to be there)—but many have suggested that a better place to check is the one mentioned by Ben Jonson—although, he has been known to speak by misdirection despite the term “Honest Ben”. He may actually offer the real resting place for the author Shakespeare in the 1623 Folio:

    “…I will not lodge thee by
    Chaucer, or Spenser, or bid Beaumont lye
    A little further, to make thee a roome:
    Thou art a Moniment, without a tombe,”

    Of course, it would once again involve going where no one is supposed to go and look for truth: In the tombs in Westminster Abbey. The dead are beyond all earthly pain but the living have an obligation to write the wrongs that they can. We are those future people that the author had faith in, the ones who would hear and understand his message that he wove into the fiber of his works ”…eyes not yet created shall o’er-read; And tongues to be your being shall rehearse…”. I doubt he believed it would take this long to get to this point of discovery but, now that we have the message and the scientific means to prove the truth he wanted the world to know—we must overcome our cultural taboos and its gatekeepers who are keeping us from doing what needs to be done.

    He was talking directly to those of us who have been able to read the message. If you hear it then you know how important it becomes to find a way to bring that truth out—no matter how impossible the task still appears to be.

    • Joanne, thanks so much for this beautiful and articulate comment! We have just returned from vacation and I am printing it out to read over some more. I agree and can only hope we’ll find the evidence to prove the truth. Again, much appreciated.

  4. Let me propose an alternative DNA testing strategy:

    Disprove that Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton was the son of Henry Wriothesley, 2nd Earl of Southampton, and Mary Browne, daughter of Anthony Browne, 1st Viscount Montagu (from Wikipedia).

    Prove that the same chromosome Y is shared by the 3rd Earl of Southampton and his alleged grandfather, John de Vere, 16th Earl of Oxford. Chromosome Y is inherited directly from the father to the son, consequently the same chromosome Y should be present in any direct male predecessor from the de Vere family as well as carried by the 3rd Earl of Southampton and his direct male descendants for the Prince Tudor hypothesis to hold true.

    Of course, this approach will not test the main claim that the 3rd Earl of Southampton was the son of Queen Elizabeth I, but it may be a bit more achievable.


    • Thanks for this. It would be great to have factual (scientific) clarity, so far as it’s possible. Hope it happens one day, sooner than later.

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