East End boy done good Danny Dyer has some right impressive lineage coursing through his veins – it’s no wonder he’s always been destined for greatness.
As well as being a descendent of Richard III, something that stunned the EastEnders actor as he traced his family tree in the 2016 edition of Who Do You Think You Are, he also gave us 2018’s Love Island queen and winner Dani Dyer.
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But Dyer is set to trump even being related to royalty (Love Island or otherwise), as he discovers in new show Right Royal Family that he is also related to a saint.
In the new two-part show, Dyer learns his 26 times great-grandfather was French monarch King Louis IX, who was canonised by Pope Boniface VIII in 1297.
Medieval historian Dr Emily Guerry explains in the clip above, “There are very few saints that aren’t virgins or martyrs, so to have a blood of a saint in your blood is an extraordinary thing.
“That blood is sacred blood. It can work miracles in the church.”
Dyer replied, “It is, innit? It’s so much to take in.”
Guerry also explained Saint Louis’ staunch religious background, adding that he modelled himself upon the lift of Jesus Christ.
“He was very religious, very devout. He was anti-bad behaviour,” she explained. “He became a man who actually modelled himself on Jesus Christ and lived to imitate Christ.”
In an attempt to understand his ancestor’s life, Dyer then took to the streets of Paris barefoot to understand what it was like for the saint.
“I admire him because he does exactly as he preaches and is showing everybody. He walked for six miles barefoot, in pain, and that you’ve got to respect,” Dyer said. “Considering the money and power he had and the life he could have lived, I think it’s very brave. Bless him.”
Dyer has also hit back at critics who have claimed his new BBC 1 show is ‘dumbing down’ history.
“I know there’s been a little bit of bad press around this – from people who haven’t even watched a second of it – about how the BBC is dumbing down history, just because maybe I’ve got a working-class accent or whatever they want to say,” he told the Press Association.
“I don’t get it. Judge it after you’ve watched it.”
He added: “A lot of people might be bored of that boring history formula, and I think it’s a different way to learn, so I’m going to try to be as funny as much as I possibly can.”
Danny Dyer’s Right Royal Family airs on 23 January at 9pm on BBC1