Anti-monarchist Bob Odenkirk just learned that King Charles is his cousin

I don’t know much about Bob Odenkirk other than the fact that, by all accounts, the guy is a real mensch. In 2021, he had a heart attack on the set of Better Call Saul and the outpouring of support from fans and colleagues really surprised him and moved him. He seems to be doing a lot better these days, health-wise. He recently appeared on Henry Louis Gates’ PBS show, Finding Your Roots. I love FYR – Dr. Gates and his team do extensive genealogical research into celebrities, politicians and well-known figures and Dr. Gates presents the findings on camera. Surprisingly, Odenkirk’s DNA is littered with “royal blood.” Which is pretty funny because Odenkirk is an avowed anti-monarchist.

Better Call Saul star Bob Odenkirk declared he is not a monarchist, moments before discovering that he is related to the King. The US actor and comedian, 61, was shocked to learn that he and King Charles are 11th cousins after appearing on the genealogy-based television show Finding Your Roots. Moments before the revelation, he said: “I’m an American, I’m not a monarchist. I don’t believe in that.”

Henry Louis Gates Jr, the show’s host, revealed that ancestry experts had traced Odenkirk’s family back five generations and found the actor’s fifth great-grandfather Friedrich Carl Steinholz was born in 1755 in Plön, Germany. He told Odenkirk that his ancestor was born out of wedlock to Maria Catharina and the Duke of Plön, who was related to the royal families of Europe as a result of intermarriage, but this information did not initially impress the comedian.

He said: “[It makes me feel] like a part of history that I didn’t think I was any part of, but…You know, I feel like it’s a little twisted. I understand why society built itself around monarchs and leaders, and they passed them down through generations. I understand that goes through every society, every civilisation. But I think that we’ve gotten to a better place with democracy and we should keep going down that road.”

However, in a teaser clip published on YouTube, the Breaking Bad star then appears visibly gobsmacked as his royal ties are revealed, before bursting into laughter and saying: “Well maybe I’ll change my mind on that!”

The actor also proclaimed “that is crazy” before repeating “11th cousins” in visible disbelief and trailing off. Gates Jr joked that Odenkirk was already “trashing” his new found family, adding: “You ought to be ashamed of yourself. You ain’t been royal more than five minutes!”

Frederick Charles was the last Duke of Plön and was a member of a cadet branch of the Danish royal family. He died in 1761 without a male heir from his marriage to Countess Christine Armgard von Reventlow.

[From The Telegraph]

In America, we tend to center Irishness so much, to the point where I see someone like Bob Odenkirk and I think “I bet he comes from Irish stock, look at that face.” But no, he comes from German stock, and royal stock at that. It’s hilarious – and sooo American – that as he was being told about his royal connections, Bob was like “monarchies are stupid, why do they exist in a modern world.” Anyway, y’all know King Charles isn’t going to invite his cousin Bob around for tea.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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28 Responses to “Anti-monarchist Bob Odenkirk just learned that King Charles is his cousin”

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  1. Sasha says:

    Anti-monarchist is the only stance that makes sense. You go, Bob!!

  2. Cessily says:

    Imagine if you truly never paid attention to the BRF whatsoever and just found this information so you decide to google them to learn more about them.. I can’t imagine the shock, not a family I would brag about either.

  3. Lolo86llf says:

    King Charles is not going to invite his distant cousin for tea after he what he said about the monarchy for sure. But it would’ve been nice though. It would have made King Charles appear more likeable.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Robbed of all the well deserved Emmys for Better Call Saul… I love him and the entire cast, that is a series for the ages

    • VoominVava says:

      I agree! I was flabbergasted that they didn’t get any. The directing was so exquisite .. the black and white scenes, the camera angles .. all of it .. not to mention the acting. Superb. I liked it more than Breaking Bad.

  5. Thena says:

    Actually, it makes sense that the anti-monarchial sentiment was passed down through generations if his ancestor was the illegitimate son of a duke who was unable to inherit the title.

  6. Amy T says:

    This means Harry has an 11th cousin one removed in the US! Local family!

    • Where'sMyTiara says:

      He might not get invited to BP, but I could see a Thanksgiving Day invite to Montecito lol

      Those Royal lines really stamp their get though, eh? Got his late cousin Phil’s forehead, so he does

    • BQM says:

      He’s got three even closer! Both he and Oliver Platt are great great grandsons of American Dollar Princess Frances Work. Sebastian Arcelus (madam Secretary) is a fourth cousin through Philip’s Russian line. And their 5th cousin once removed (I think I got it right!) Nadia Bowers is married to Corey Stoll.

    • Elizabeth says:

      I’m also related to both Meghan and Harry, through the Markle and Bowes-Lyon lines.

      Most people of European descent have some royal blood if you can trace them back far enough.

    • BlueNailsBetty says:

      Haha, I’m Harry’s distant cousin through both Diana and Charles’s ancestry.

      I imagine there are a lot of people in the US with biological ties to the BRF.

  7. Bettyrose says:

    Someone of Anglo-Saxon ancestry is extremely distantly related to someone else of Anglo-Saxon ancestry?

    • ncboudicca says:

      I think I read somewhere that everyone with (northern?) European blood is descended from Charlemagne? So…we’re all related, somehow!

      • BlueNailsBetty says:

        I am descended from Charlemagne through at least four of his children. We jokingly call him Grandpa Charlie in our family.

  8. Nanea says:

    How fascinating to learn about one’s family’s history!

    Living not too far away from where Bob’s German ancestor originated from – and being surrounded by various von Reventlows, I just looked the von Plön family up.

    There’s a double portrait in the Royal Collection Trust that seems to be still there, unlike the Nizam of Hyderabad necklace, their most valuable piece that they somehow managed to mislay.

    For anyone who’s interested

    • BQM says:

      The Hyderabad necklace isn’t part of the Royal collection. They show it on the website like they do artwork, objects d’arts and photographs etc that are the monarch’s property. The necklace was given to the queen personally as a wedding gift and before rules about state gifts were enacted. It belonged to her personally and now belongs to Charles and he can sell it if he wanted. It’s not “missing, it just wasn’t put back. Camilla likely has it.

  9. Grr says:

    Thanks for spoiling the episode. I haven’t seen it yet.

    • BQM says:

      A good bit of coverage on it. I’d avoid entertainment sites if there’s anyone else on the ep. Deadline for instance had it as a headline—gave the whole thing away.

  10. Brassy Rebel says:

    I love Dr.Gates and FYR, but 11th cousins? That’s quite a stretch.

    • bettyrose says:

      Seriously. In smaller, less ethnically diverse nations, most people are more closely related than 11th cousin. I think Ashkenazi Jews (my heritage) being a pretty small population are all around 11th cousin. It might be fun for a tv show, but it’s an entirely useless fact. It’s more relevant to learn about your ancestors, which IDK I guess gives a sense of being part of something larger on this crazy planet.

      ETA: The Internet says Ashkenazi Jews are all at least 30th cousins with each other, but if your grandparents/great-grandparents were from the same country, it’s probably a lot closer than that.

  11. JaneS says:

    11th cousins. Good grief.
    That is like the 4th cousin, twice removed stuff.
    Once you go farther than 3rd cousin, you’ve lost me.
    And Bob is like a LOT of people, we don’t care about “Royals” because royalty is BS.

  12. Square2 says:

    Spoiler alert for anyone who hasn’t watched this season’s DYR:

    On episode 3, LeVar Burton was so OFFENDED by he has white ancestors!

    Dr. Gates seemed amused by his reaction and eventually said to LeVar that most black Americans has some white in their blood.

    I only started watching DYR last season and enjoy it. Also enjoyed “Who Do You Think You Are”.

    • bettyrose says:

      Maybe I need to start watching this show. Sounds like there’s some good drama. I can only imagine LeVar was joking or being dramatic for the show, though. He’s a brilliant man and obviously knows what kinda horrors were perpetrated during the North Atlantic slave trade.

    • Just me says:

      While most black Americans have white ancestry, the most recent white ancestor we had was by marriage in the early 1900’s. She was a white woman but the family lore said she was Native American. But Ancestry DNA site said she was likely Iberian (Spain/Portugal) and Irish (if you look at the likely source and divide over a few generations on that side of the family ) and no DNA from the Americas was found. And my grandmother remembers seeing her an describes her appearance as ‘white’. She was likely a white woman who ‘passed’ for Native American because at the time there were laws in many places against intermarriage.

      • bettyrose says:

        @Just Me:
        Thank you for sharing your family history. We don’t often hear about people of European ancestry “passing” as people of color, which generally wasn’t beneficial in terms of rights, but it probably happened more often than we know in the name of love.

      • Just me says:

        Yes indeed. And it’s great to have actual documentation and testimony from living witnesses. If I ever get the time, I would love to explore my ancestry further for all branches of my ancestors.

  13. phlyfiremama says:

    The truth is, if you have roots in Scotland or England you have a VERY good chance of having a connection to the royal family. Honestly, this would come up in almost all of our geneological roots. *Shrugs

  14. Patricia says:

    I have researched my family and my French, English and German roots as far back as the 15th century. Thank god, no royal connections. Love FYR and HLG, Jr., It’s an entertaining and intelligent show and Dr Gates is brilliant. So I stand with Odenkirk, I am an American and much prefer a democratic form of government.
    Royalty, not so much. Blood is not royal, it comes in four types and we all have it.