October 27, 2020

If You Think Your Family History Is Complicated …

… spare a thought for these children in a story from The Daily Telegraph.

According to The Telegraph; Prince Jonathan Doria Pamphilj was adopted in the 1960’s as an orphan by Frank Pogson and his Italian wife Princess Orietta Doria Pamphilj. He lives with his Brazilian boyfriend and has two children who were born to surrogate mothers (American and Ukranian) through IVF using the prince’s sperm and eggs from two other women.

The story is that the prince’s sister; Princess Gesine Pogson Doria Pamphilj, also adopted as an orphan, has begun a legal action against the prince over their shared inheritance (estimated at £950 million). She is concerned that either of the surrogate mothers, or even the other two women who donated the eggs, could make a claim on the family fortune at any time under Italian law. She has therefore asked judges to rule that the children are technically not those of her brother and so not entitled to inherit.

Now, the rules of inheritance are in themselves of interest to family historians but I think, in this case, this interest is overwhelmed by the complexity of the family history of the two children. Should they go on to have children (in whatever manner!) I can’t begin to imagine how those children will feel if they attempt to unravel their own genealogical origins.

I wrote before about the possibility of children with three parents but thought this was just a possible side issue to DNA manipulation. However the case highlighted above shows that having 3 parents is indeed possible, one wonders what on earth is on the childrens’ birth certificates?

The full story, first reported in October 2009, is on The Daily Telegraphs web site [here].

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