Further ancestors of the Princess of Wales

Finishing up the generation of the Princess of Wales’s great-great-great-great-grandparents –­ as part of a review of scholarship that has become available since Richard Evans’s book, The Ancestry of Diana, Princess of Wales, was published in 2007 – there is something more to be said about her matrilineal ancestress in that generation, Eliza Kewark (or Kevorkian) of Surat in the Indian state of Gujurat.[1]

The daughter of Jakob Kevork/Hakob Kevorkian, and sister-in-law of Aratoon Baldassier (or Baldassarian), her voice may be heard in a series of letters she wrote to her partner (and, perhaps, husband) Theodore Forbes between 1812 and 1819; the last – concerning Forbes’s plan to send their daughter to his family in Scotland – strikes a formal note: “My good sir, I pray you let me know by your leave I will bring my child to give in your hand by myself and after Kitty is dispatched to Europe then stay in Bombay or stay in Surat.” Forbes died shortly thereafter, leaving Eliza in financial straits: it is unclear whether she died in Surat or in Bombay (Mumbai), where her son Alexander lived at one time.

127. Eliza Kewark or Kevorkian, living in 1834 (when she wrote her trustee asking for a larger annual remittance), perhaps the Mrs. Elizabeth Farbessian living in Surat (Gujurat) in 1820. From modern genetics testing, it would appear that Eliza’s mother was of Indian (as opposed to Armenian) descent.


The Princess’s great-great-great-great-great-grandparents include:

140. Sir Robert Palk, 1st Baronet, M.P. 1767–87, Governor of Madras 1763–67, born at Ambrooke, Devonshire 16 Dec. 1717 and died at Haldon House, Dunchideock, Devonshire 29 April 1798.[2] He married 11 Feb. 1761,

141. Anne Vansittart, baptized at the Church of St. George the Martyr, Queen Square, Camden, Middlesex 16 June 1737[3] and died 19 Aug. 1788; buried at St. Michael and All Saints’ Churchyard, Dunchideock.

142. Wilmot Vaughan, 1st Earl of Lisburne, M.P. … He married, 2nd, at St. Andrew’s Church, Holborn, Middlesex 19 April 1763,[4]


168. Assheton Curzon, 1st Viscount Curzon, M.P. … He married, 2nd, at St. George’s Church, Hanover Square, London 6 Feb. 1766, Dorothy Grosvenor, who was born 20 July, baptized at St. John’s Church, Smith Square, Westminster (London) 11 Aug. 1740[5] and died at Penn, Buckinghamshire 25 Feb. 1774,[6] daughter of Sir Robert Grosvenor, 6th Baronet, and Jane Warre.


Charlotte (Lamb), Countess of Fauconberg, was the aunt of William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne, Queen Victoria’s first Prime Minister:

179. Charlotte Lamb, born 1, baptized at the Church of St. George the Martyr, Queen Square, Camden, Middlesex 30 Nov. 1743[7] and died 1 April 1790; buried at St. Michael’s Churchyard, Coxwold, Yorkshire.


The Hon. Mrs. Robert Brudenell was the mother of the 6th Earl of Cardigan:

181. Anne Bishopp, Woman of the Bedchamber to HM Queen Charlotte, died 1 Oct. 1803 aged 75; buried at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.


Finally, the parents of Penelope Anne (Cooke), Countess of Cardigan, merit a new look. It appears that Captain George John Cooke, M.P., was given his father’s service in Parliament, while more information is available for Mrs. Cooke, whose second husband was Governor of the Isle of Man.

As Lady Cardigan had several brothers, she was not a notable heiress – she had three sisters as well – but the status provided by her stepfather’s position was evidently attractive to Robert Brudenell, who had not yet succeeded to the earldom. By the time Penelope (Bowyer) (Cooke) Smith died in 1821, her daughter had been a Lady in Waiting to Queen Charlotte, so Mrs. Smith’s death should have appeared in the press – I could only find it recorded, with her second husband, in the registers of Bath Abbey.

182. Captain George John Cooke, born 17 Aug., baptized at the Church of St. Giles-in-the-Fields, Holborn, Middlesex 1 Sept. 1738[8] and buried at Harefield, Middlesex 29 May 1785. He married (by license) 8 Aug. 1765,[9]

183. Penelope Bowyer, baptized at Denham, Buckinghamshire 26 July 1744[10] and buried at Bath Abbey, Somerset 16 June 1821.[11] She married, 2nd, (by license) at St. George’s Church, Hanover Square, London 24 July 1786, Major General Edward Smith, Governor of the Isle of Man 1777–93, buried at Bath Abbey 12 Jan. 1809,[12] son of Captain Edward Smith and Elizabeth Douglas.


[1] Other entries for this generation include Isabella Nicoll, the wife of John Gill of Old Machar (Aberdeen):

113. Isabella Nicoll, baptized at St. Nicholas’ Church, Aberdeen 17 Dec. 1776 (Scotland, Select Births and Baptisms, 1564–1950 [database on-line]) and died 26 Jan. 1802; buried at Old Machar Churchyard.

114. Alexander Ogston, merchant, born 16, baptized at Tarves, Aberdeenshire 17 March 1766 and died 27 July 1838; buried at St. Clement’s Churchyard, Aberdeen. He married at Fyvie, Aberdeenshire 14 June 1796,

115. Helen Milne, born 12 May, baptized at Fyvie 12 Nov. 1776 and died 20 Jan. 1842; buried at St. Clement’s Churchyard.


122. James Bentley, professor of Oriental languages at King’s College, Aberdeen 1798–1846, born at Aberdeen 24 Nov. 1771 and died there 7 Aug. 1846. He married at Blackrod, Lancashire 26 Oct. 1809,

123. Isobel Dingwall Fordyce, born at Aberdeen 4 March 1771 and died there 16 July 1854.

[2] “Palk, Sir Robert, first baronet (17171798),” in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, vol. 42 (Oxford: Oxford University Press): 46061 at 461.

[3] London, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials 1538–1812 [database on-line].

[4] London, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns 1754–1932 [database on-line].

[5] England, Select Births and Christenings, 1538–1975 [database on-line].

[6] England, Select Deaths and Burials, 1538–1991 [database on-line].

[7] London, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials 1538–1812 [database on-line].

[8] Ibid.

[9] London, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns 1754–1932 [database on-line].

[10] England, Select Births and Christenings, 1538–1975 [database on-line].

[11] Somerset, England, Church of England Burials 1813–1914 [database on-line].

[12] Ibid.

About Scott C. Steward

Scott C. Steward was the founding editor at Vita Brevis; he served as NEHGS Editor-in-Chief 2013-2022. He is the author, co-author, or editor of genealogies of the Ayer, Le Roy, Lowell, Saltonstall, Thorndike, and Winthrop families. His articles have appeared in The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, NEXUS, New England Ancestors, American Ancestors, and The Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine, and he has written book reviews for the Register, The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, and the National Genealogical Society Quarterly.

2 thoughts on “Further ancestors of the Princess of Wales

  1. I understand that John Alden of the Mayflower was related to her family. Can you tell me how? My daughter-in-law is an Alden descendant so that is why we are asking.
    Dr. Mary Maher Boehnlein

    1. While the Princess of Wales may have been connected to the John Alden family in some way, I am not aware of her having a Mayflower line (or an Alden one). Her great-grandmother, Frances Work Roche Batonyi, provides her one American line. Earlier connections to American immigrants are likely, but those connections would be via descent from British residents of the sixteenth century or before.

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