From the moment Prince William and Kate Middleton got engaged, a rumor ran happily through the Jewish blogosphere: the couple’s progeny, the heir to the British throne, would be Jewish! And then, on July 22, a son was born — a Son of Israel!
His Royal Highness, Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge, is not Jewish — and you can bet your yarmulke on that.
But because Jewish law considers a child Jewish if the mother is Jewish, and because Kate’s mother’s maiden name is Goldsmith — a name not uncommon among British Jews — some wrongly conclude that the wee prince’s matrilineal line is Jewish, and so he must be too.
But before we dispel the rumor that the world’s WASPiest baby is an Israelite, here are five reasons why some people assume he is.
2. In a YouTube video that is circulating widely, dead ringers for William and Kate, their families and the Archbishop of Canterbury dance down the wedding aisle to klezmer music.
3. In 1937, Jewish philanthropist Frank Charles Lindo donated the wing at St. Mary’s Hospital, where George and William were born.
4. The artist formerly known as Prince, according to at least one person, is half Jewish. So, if you’re fully a prince … maybe you’re fully Jewish.
5. The BBC’s former royal correspondent Michael Cole, who covered the royals beat, wrote a letter to the Times of London declaring that Kate is Jewish — again, drawing on the surnames of her forbears. Even the New York Post decided this was meshugas. Kate’s mother, Carole Middleton, “is the daughter of Ronald Goldsmith and Dorothy Harrison, both Jews. The parents of Dorothy were Robert Harrison and Elizabeth Temple, both Jews. Elizabeth was descended from the Myers, a distinguished 19th century Jewish family.”
Cole added in the letter: “The Duchess of Cambridge is a Jew on her matriarchal side and therefore her baby will be a Jew, according to Jewish law and tradition.” And he suggested that “a wise choice” of name might be Solomon. Asked whether he has any positive evidence that this is actually the case for Kate’s family, Cole explained that “Mrs Middleton, born Goldsmith, is a talented businesswoman… You don’t have to live in a monastery to know that Jewish people are good in business”
So what’s Kate’s religious history?
She and her Anglican family were never big on going to church. She was baptized as an Anglican in 1982, when she was five months old, and then, before her wedding two years ago to William, who will as king one day assume the title “Defender of the Faith,” she was confirmed by the Bishop of London. Many explained the confirmation as a measure to make it absolutely, positively clear that Kate is in no way Catholic (still frowned upon for royal spouses).
Genealogists have traced her lineage back generations, and all you can find is church wedding after baptism after church wedding.