Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts has been one of the best players in baseball this season, leading the American League in home runs (13), batting average (.355), slugging percentage (.818) and OPS (1.251), among other categories. And yet Betts is apparently not the most esteemed member of his own family.
That distinction, according to the Boston Globe, belongs to Meghan Markle, the American actress who will marry Prince Harry next month and become a member of the British royal family. Per the Globe, Markle and Betts are distant relatives whose family ties date back to antebellum Virginia via Alabama.
According to the 1870 Federal Census, the population of a township in Madison County, Ala., included 22 adults and children with the surname Betts. In house No. 105, there was 17-year-old Joseph Betts. In house No. 107, 14-year-old Jacob Betts lived with his family.
Joseph Betts is the great-great grandfather of Mookie Betts and Jacob Betts the great-great-great grandfather of Markle.
Whether Joseph and Jacob were related cannot be determined conclusively. But those residents of Madison were descendants of slaves owned by Elisha Betts, a tobacco plantation owner from Lunenburg County, Va.
But there’s actually more. The Globe reports that Markle’s great-great aunt Katie married Betts’ great-uncle Richard, meaning that even if the baseball player and the princess are not related by blood, they are definitively related by marriage.
Betts told the Globe that he had heard about Markle on TV but had no idea he was related to her. According to the Globe, the revelation of the Betts-Markle connection came from Jim McNiff an amateur genealogist who happens to be a big Boston sports fan. McNiff has previously investigated the family trees of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick and became interested in Betts’ ancestry this year.
So do the Brits have a special title for the distant cousin of a future duchess? No? Then we suppose Betts will have to settle for being known as an MVP candidate. Either way, the royal family can see their distant relative this June as the Red Sox take on the Yankees in London Stadium.