A real-life game of thrones is upon us. We’ve always believed that Prince Charles is next in line for the throne, followed by his son, Prince William. But it’s come to light that Prince William has an older sister, Sarah, who is the true heir to the Iron — uh — British throne…
Diana, Princess of Wales, is no stranger to conspiracy theories. Normally they’re to do with her untimely and tragic death 20 years ago, the official story of which has more holes than a colander. This one’s a lot weirder.
This one alleges that during a recent trip to the United States, Kate Middleton had a secret meeting with a woman claiming to be her husband Prince William’s long-lost sister. This was at the behest of William, who thought it inappropriate to meet her himself and wanted Kate to scope her out first. Reportedly Kate and William have since requested DNA tests.
This woman, ‘Sarah’, told a fascinating story: in December 1980, 19-year-old Lady Diana Spencer, then a virgin, was ordered by the Queen to undergo gynaecological tests to establish whether she was capable of bearing Charles’s children. Diana’s eggs were harvested and fertilised with Charles’s sperm. After the tests proved successful, their engagement was announced and the embryos were destroyed.
Or so everyone thought. As it happened, a ‘rogue doctor’ secretly held back one of the embryos and implanted it into his wife, who unknowingly became the surrogate mother of Charles and Diana’s biological child.
This child, a girl, was born 10 weeks after Charles and Diana’s wedding, in October 1981 — 8 months before the birth of Prince William. Not only does this make her William’s older sister, but it also makes her legitimate, since Diana and Charles were married when she was born. She is, therefore, the rightful heir to the throne after Charles.
Jaw off the floor yet?
Sarah claimed she was told on many occasions growing up that she was a ‘dead ringer’ for Diana. When she was in her 20s, both her parents died in a car accident and she subsequently discovered a diary revealing that she was the IVF offspring of Charles and Diana.
Soon after, she received a threatening message on her answer-phone, warning her to keep quiet. Concerned that her life may be in danger, particularly with all the rumours flying around that Diana’s death was no accident, Sarah emigrated to the US and went into hiding, living under a secret identity.
What to make of all this? Well, a number of old reports say that Diana did have to undergo a gynaecological examination prior to her engagement to Charles, and that it was carried out by the Queen’s gynaecologist, Sir George Pinker.
The rest of this bonkers story comes from The Globe, an American tabloid magazine renowned for its sensational and often untrue claims. Its origins, in fact, lie in a conspiracy thriller novel by Nancy E. Ryan called The Disappearance of Olivia. The novel is about a British physician called Olivia Franklin who’s been told her entire life that she’s the spitting image of Princess Diana. When she learns that the resemblance is no coincidence, she’s targeted by those who see her as a threat to the current line of succession and forced to go on the run. Sounds familiar!
This kind of thing’s happened before. A story starts out as fiction and is later reprinted as if it’s fact. Alleged time traveller Andrew Carlssin originated in a fake news article by the Weekly World News, a satirical newspaper, but his story got picked up and re-reported by a number of more legitimate news outlets. Another alleged time traveller, Rudolph Fentz, is said to have come from a fictional short story by Jack Finney called I’m Scared. (Or did he? The jury’s still out on that one…) And the retired CIA agent who confessed to the murder of Marilyn Monroe was conjured up by fake news site World News Daily Report, complete with pictures swiped from a Guardian article of a gravely ill drug smuggler.
Not a scrap of evidence has been released by The Globe to support the existence of Sarah or her far-fetched tale. The tabloid’s alleged photos of her are said to be fakes, photoshopped to look like Diana. I first discovered this story in a scathing Daily Mail article that was poking fun at its ridiculousness (there’s an irony for you, given the Mail’s own propensity for ridiculous headlines and untrue reporting).
And, whoops, the architects of the Sarah story didn’t do their homework. Even if she does exist, she doesn’t make a squat of difference to the line of succession. This is because the Succession to the Crown Act 2013, which now allows the eldest child to succeed whatever their gender, only applies to babies born after 2011. ‘Sarah’ wouldn’t count.
As fun as it is, I’m afraid we’re going to have to confine this one to the ‘total bollocks’ category, along with the claims that the Royal Family are shape-shifting lizards, the Earth is flat, and the planes that hit the Twin Towers on 9/11 were CGI.
Next week: the mysterious painting with clues to a Tudor conspiracy