Boris Johnson Is 'Descendant' Of Mummified Woman Found In Switzerland

Images via SRF and Getty Images

As for Anna Catharina herself, she was part of the wealthy Basel family the Bischoffs and married a church minister, the reports.

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

But it was not until 1975, when the church was undergoing renovations, that Bischoff was found again and - this time - removed for good from her tomb before the altar.

There was no gravestone to indicate her identity, but initial testing of her wooden coffin suggested it dated from the 16th Century.

Mr Johnson was certainly aware of the von Pfeffel connections before the discovery of the mummy.

Local historians knew that members of Basel's wealthy families were buried in and around the Barfüsser Church.

It only became clear in 2017, in newly discovered archives, that the mummy had been uncovered once before, in 1843.

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

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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.

The results from the DNA showed that there was a 99.8% probability that the Johnson's descended from the mummy.

Born in Basel in 1719, she spent most of her life in the French city of Strasbourg.

One of those girls, also named Anna, married Christian Hubert Baron Pfeffel von Kriegelstein - and Boris's dad Stanley Johnson arrived six generations later.

He once told the BBC genealogy programme Who Do You Think You Are? that he was "the product of many countries", describing his von Pfeffel ancestors as "posh toffs".

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.

Their daughter married a man called Osman Wilfred Johnson Kemal, whose son is Stanley Johnson - recent star of I'm A Celebrity...

Now, after two years of archival and DNA investigation by a team of researchers, she not only has a name - as it turns out, she's also got a rather recognizable great-great-great-great-great-great-grandson.

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