When I proudly told a friend that I was descended from kings, he said that he thought we probably all were if only we could go back that far. It set me wondering about probabilities.
If I go back 7 generations, I can identify about 40 of the 128 ancestors. If I go back 24 generations, I can only identify one of the 17 million (2**24) odd ancestors. So far all my ancestors are solidly working class, but this ancestor, Margaret Fitzgerald, opens up a world of royal connections. Among her descendants are: Malcolm II of Scotland, Rhodri Mawr of Gwynedd, Alfred the Great, Brian Boru, Charlemagne and King Beringer of Italy. But, take Charlemagne, for example b c742. This is about 50 generations back, so theoretically I have 2**50 or 1000 million million ancestors. I suppose that from this many possibilities it is not surprising that a few of them are royal. Was my friend right when he said that we're all descended from kings?