Seeking Jewish ancestry of new British Prince

Rachel LaVictoire

By Rachel LaVictoire

On June 22, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge welcomed into the world their first child, George Alexander Louis. The newborn son of Kate Middleton and Prince William is currently third in the line of succession to the British throne, third in line to become King of England. He is also potentially Jewish. 

Not surprisingly, there has been a lot of research done on the matter. Some Jews would like to prove that the potential heir is in fact Jewish, but many non-Jews are working hard to prove the opposite. Obviously, searching for undeniable evidence about someone’s religious background is nearly impossible, but here are a few facts that people are trying to make sense of: 

1.  Judaism is a religion that’s passed down through maternal bloodlines. 

2. Prince George Alexander Louis is the son of Catherine Middleton, grandson of Carole E. Goldsmith, great-grandson Dorothy Harrison, and great-great-grandson of Elizabeth M. Temple.

3. Starting with Kate and tracing back five generations, all marriage ceremonies were held in churches. 


The majority of the arguments out there, on both sides of the debate, are based solely off these three facts, and they can be arranged to support both sides. Some argue that names like “Goldsmith” and “Temple” are proof enough for a Jewish ancestry, and that the marriages were held in churches due to residual fear from the Spanish Inquisition that killed over 40,000 Jews. Unfortunately, those arguing that Prince George is not Jewish seem to have a stronger case: Kate was not raised Jewish, her family has been in England for over six generations, and many of the marriages have been performed in churches. Still, though, the question remains open, and many Jews continue to hope that there is actually a member of The Tribe currently sitting third in line as heir to the British throne. 

And I understand why so many of us cling to this hope. It would be an incredible leap for the Jewish people, a people weighted down by years of discrimination and isolation, to have a representative in the royal family. It would be inspirational and uplifting, and it would cause Jews worldwide to beam with pride. 

But if more evidence surfaces disproving George Alexander Louis’ Jewish background, we need to let go. Jewish leaders and celebrities will come, but it’s important that we wait patiently rather than contort the facts to align with our desired truth. 

We learn this week about the formal leadership of the Jewish people. The parshah, sensibly named Shoftim, meaning judges, begins with a commandment from G-d: 

“You shall set up judges and law enforcement officials for yourself in all your cities that the Lord, your G-d, is giving you, for your tribes, and they shall judge the people with righteous judgment… Justice, justice shall you pursue, that you may live and possess the land the Lord, your G-d, is giving you” (Deuteronomy 16:18-20). 

G-d continues, explaining how exactly these appointed judges should handle criminals: Capital punishment may be enacted “by the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses” (17:6), but not by the mouth of one. Then, above the judges is the Sanhedrin, or the Rabbinic Supreme Court, which consists of the Levitic kohanim. The judges are instructed to bring any disagreements to the kohanim, and to follow their judgments precisely. Any man who intentionally disobeys either the kohanim or the judges may be sentenced to death. 

But aside from the laws given to the judges about their new responsibilities, there’s also much to be said about the judges themselves. 

“You shall set a king over you, one whom the Lord, your G-d, chooses; from among your brothers… And it will be, when he sits upon his royal throne, that he shall write for himself two copies of this Torah on a scroll from before the Levitic kohanim. And it shall be with him… so that his heart will not be haughty over his brothers, and so that he will not turn away from the commandment, either to the right or to the left, in order that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his sons, among Israel” (17: 15-20).

Clearly, the leaders that G-d chooses for us will be good men. They will be righteous and diligent, and in constant pursuit of a just nation. They will be unbiased, and fair in their punishments. But most importantly, they will be Jewish and they will be chosen by G-d. 

I neither endorse nor oppose the idea that George Alexander Louis will one day be a Jewish monarch, but I do fully support the movement of people out there trying to seek out their own modern-day Jewish leader. You may have noticed notice the similarity in G-d’s commandments: “You shall set up judges and law enforcement officials for yourself,” and “you shall set a king over you.” 

We, inevitably, will all choose our own leaders. We will seek out men and women who we respect and admire, ones who hold a moral code similar to our own. Maybe we’ll choose a non-practicing Jew in the British line of succession, or maybe we’ll choose our favorite high school teacher. In the end, who’s to say how much of our “choosing” is actually crafted by the hand of G-d? “[G-d] will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths [G-d] will guide them” (Isaiah 42:16). Maybe Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge was in fact chosen by G-d to make a name for, and to lead, the Jewish people; maybe not.