We’re going to say this first– No Kate Middleton is not Jewish, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a lot of speculation around this topic. (This week alone people have been heading to Google in the hundreds of thousands to see if this is true or not.)
In fact, the claim is so common I heard it at a Shabbat meal the week after the Queen’s death from a Hasidic Englishman: “100% halachically Jewish,” he said matter of factly.
So why do people get this so wrong or try so hard to make it the truth?
“The Duchess of Cambridge is a Jew on her matriarchal side”
The speculation around Kate’s alleged Jewish family lineage stems mostly in part from a former BBC Royal Correspondent.
Michael Cole had a letter published in the Times of London back in 2013 which quickly made headlines around the world. The letter came soon after the birth of Kate and William’s first child and Cole speculated that the heir to the throne could actually be Jewish.
In the letter Cole claimed that 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 then made the claim: “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.” He even suggested that “a wise choice” of name would be Solomon.
The problem is, none of this is true, and Cole later admitted to The Times of Israel that “it is only circumstantial evidence.”
Making things even stranger, when asked for further evidence Cole dabbled in a common Jewish trope as proof.
“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.”
The problem is, in the United Kingdom the last name Goldsmith was used by both Jews and non-Jews, there’s also the fact that Kate’s mother’s family were coalminers and not in business.
“It’s nonsense,” Doreen Berger, the chairman of the Jewish Genealogy Society (JGS), told the Jewish Chronicle. “I have been researching Kate Middleton’s ancestry since it looked like she was getting engaged to Prince William. I’ve looked back as far as it’s possible to look back and she doesn’t have a Jewish link at all — it’s just not true. I’m 100 percent sure.”
Jewish coexistence in the United Kingdom is complicated. Ultimately after hundreds of years of massacres the Jews were kicked out of the country in 1290 and let back in 365 years later. Up until the 19th century Jewish participation in public life was forbidden, it took until 1890 for the country to repeal a law that forbade Jews from working in the government, however left in place was a statute that allowed Jews to be forbidden from working for the monarchy and the offices of Lord High Chancellor.
Originally Published Oct 6 2022 07:57PM EDT