Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II is the head of the Church of England, but she might also be able to claim a role in Islam after a recent study asserted she is a direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad.
A March report by the Moroccan newspaper Al-Ousboue traced her lineage back 43 generations to the founder of Islam, sparking widespread interest across the Middle East.
“It builds a bridge between our two religions and kingdoms,” Abdelhamid Al-Aouni said, according to The Daily Mail.
The claim is not new, and was originally published in 1986 by Burke’s Peerage, the noted guide to royal genealogy. The link was also reportedly verified by Ali Gomaa, the former grand mufti of Egypt, which would make Elizabeth a distant cousin of fellow monarchs King Abdullah II of Jordan and Mohammed VI of Morocco.
According to the family tree, she is descendant from the Prophet’s daughter, Fatima.
According to the Economist, much of the purported link revolves around a Muslim princess called Zaida, who fled an attack on Seville in Muslim Spain in the 11th century and found refuge in the court of Alfonso VI of Castille.
There, “she changed her name to Isabella, converted to Christianity and bore Alfonso a son, Sancho, one of whose descendants later married the Earl of Cambridge,” the Economist said.
However, the report notes that Zaida’s own origins are not without debate.
“Some make her the daughter of Muatamid bin Abbad, a wine-drinking caliph descended from the Prophet. Others say she married into his family,” the report said.