Last night, I finished the book The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family, which I will describe in greater detail in a later post. However, near the end of the book, I had a glorious revelation. As it turns out, based on facts that I didn’t know before last night, there are only three degrees of separation between myself and Queen Elizabeth. This is a very exciting discovery. However, what makes it exciting, is that I realized that a professor with whom I worked with extensively at Georgetown (he was one of my research colleagues) is the grandson of Jessica Mitford (the communist rebel Mitford sister). I had no idea of this before yesterday. That means his great-aunt is the Duchess of Devonshire (now dowager Duchess). Of course, the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire is the in the close orbit of the Queen, and is in fact a contemporary of the Queen. Being only three degrees removed from the Queen, do you think that is enough to score an invitation to the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton on April 29? Probably not.
I am seriously fascinated with the Mitford family, though. Six sisters who came from a relatively poor aristocratic family that basically were involved with all of the radical political movements of their day is pretty amazing. Unfortunately, three degrees of separation to the Queen via the Mitford family also means, though, that I am only four degrees removed from Hitler, as Unity Mitford and Diana Mitford Mosely were big fans of that creep. It also means three degrees of separation from Winston Churchill who was the uncle (by marriage) of the Mitford sisters.
For someone who loves European history the way I do, these are very exciting realizations. However, in most people, I realize this will induce only a shrug of the shoulders.