Mummy's boy: Boris Johnson related to mummy found in Swiss church

Jan 26, 2018, 02:05
Mummy's boy: Boris Johnson related to mummy found in Swiss church

Details in those records led researchers to suspects that the spot where the body was found was the final resting place of Anna Catharina Bischoff, a Basel gentlewoman who died in 1787.

She was buried in front of the church's altar, which local historians said was only permitted for wealthy Basel family members, but there was no gravestone to indicate her identity.

A syphilitic mummified corpse dating back to the 18th century has been identified as Anna Catharina Bischoff, the great-great-great-great-great-great-grandmother of the foreign secretary.

Six generations later, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson was born, now the UK's foreign secretary and Conservative MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip. Highly toxic mercury treatment was more often a kill than a cure and it was this that preserved her body. It may not have worked, but the mercury did help to preserve her body until now.

The mummy had been uncovered once before - in 1843, during building work at the church.

Bischoff had married a church minister and had seven children but only two girls survived.

These notes were discovered in 2016, sparking a search for clues. There, it is believed, she may have contracted syphilis while caring for patients with the sexually transmitted disease.

Their daughter Yvonne married Osman Wilfred Johnson Kemal, and their son, Stanley Johnson, is Johnson's father.

On the death of her husband she returned to her home town of Basel, and apparently underwent rigorous mercury treatment in the hope of a cure.

Before appearing on the BBC's Who Do You Think You Are program in 2008, he said he thought he was "part Jewish, part French, part English, part American, part pterodactyl and, unpredictably, part Turkish".

The foreign secretary has not yet commented on the discovery, but is known for his global ancestry.

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