Tuesday 20 February 2018

Crowning glory: Monaco's Princess Charlene can trace her roots back here

Princess Charlene. Pic: Julien Behal/PA Wire
Princess Charlene. Pic: Julien Behal/PA Wire
Prince Albert and Princess Charlene

Michael Staines

IRELAND can boast of its very own royalty – after new research traced the ancestry of Princess Charlene of Monaco all the way back to 16th century Dublin.

The princess discussed the exploits of her Irish ancestors – prominent Dublin family, the Fagans of Feltrim – with genealogist Fiona Fitzsimons at the Prince's Palace in Monaco on Tuesday.

She was then presented with a certificate of Irish Heritage by the Irish Ambassador to France.

The Fagans were a wealthy merchant family who left a lasting mark on the Dublin landscape.

From 1524, the family were involved in a number of key events in Irish history, including the foundation of Trinity College and the sale of land necessary to create Phoenix Park.

The last of the princess's direct ancestors to be born in Ireland was Christopher Sullivan Fagan, who was baptised in Cork in 1781.

Ms Fitzsimons said the princess was delighted to be claimed as one of Ireland's own.

"She is really excited about this. She was beaming from ear to ear. I found her very down to earth and very interested, she was asking all sorts of questions," she said.

Tourism Ireland is actively encouraging people from around the world to look into their Irish roots.


Brian Donovan, CEO of Eneclann, the company that carried out the research, said you never know what you are going to find when you begin investigating your family history.

"People tend to assume an awful lot about their roots but, in fact, most people have a very complex and unusual family history, with people coming from all sorts of different social, cultural and religious backgrounds," he said.

He said people want to be able to tell their children about where they came from and the challenges that their families have experienced.

"We tend to be a bit cynical about it in this country, but these are real links, real connections that people want to celebrate and engage with," he said.

"We are so terribly lucky to have so many people worldwide who actually want to connect."

The princess is the latest in a string of world figures to find out she has a bit of Irish in her.

Barack Obama and Tom Cruise were both recently presented with Certificates of Heritage and some of the more familiar members of the Irish Diaspora include John F Kennedy and his own assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald.

Irish Independent

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