Swiss mummy identified as ancestor of Boris Johnson

Swiss mummy identified as ancestor of Boris Johnson

It has now been revealed that the body, found in a Basel church during renovations in 1975, is that of Anna Catharina Bischoff, a wealthy lady who was born in 1719 and died in 1789.

The body was preserved with a high level of mercury which is often a sign that person has been treated for syphills.

She was buried right in front of the altar, clearly well fed and was wearing good quality clothes, indicating she was just as wealthy as her distant grandson was destined to be.

He previously told the BBC programme Who Do You Think You Are? that he was a "product of many countries" and described his von Pfeffel ancestors as "posh toffs". The team announced Thursday that the mummy, identified as Anna Catharina Bischoff, was an 18th century pastor's wife who can lay claim to a rather vast group of descendants, including British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.

A breakthrough came past year when newly discovered archives revealed the body had been previously uncovered in 1843.

Historians who studied the new documents began to believe she was a member of a well-established Bischoff family.

DNA extracted from the mummy's big toe was then compared by scientists - working independently - with DNA taken from living descendants of the Bischoff family - including Rosemary Probst-Ryhiner.

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The historians found that Anna Catharina married a church minister, and lived for much of her adult life in Strasbourg where she may have contracted syphilis while caring for patients with the sexually transmitted disease.

It may also, however, be responsible for the well-preserved state of her body.

It is reported she had seven kids but only two survived childhood.

Unfortunately the treatment did not work and scientists believe she died from mercury poisoning in 1787 at the age of 68.

Their daughter Yvonne married Osman Wilfred Johnson Kemal and their son, Stanley Johnson, went on to have British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.

As for Bischoff, the researchers say that after her husband's death she returned to Basel, where she received the insidious treatment that ultimately led to her own death a few years later. Five generations of von Pfeffels later, and we find Marie Luise von Pfeffel marrying one Stanley Fred Williams.

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