Queen's DNA demanded in 'biggest royal scandal'

An elderly man who bears a striking resemblance to the Queen's uncle and former monarch, Edward VIII, is demanding that members of the royal family undergo DNA testing in order to prove his royal ancestry or face being sued.

Francois Graftieaux, 73, claims that he is the grandson of Edward VIII - as he says that his father, Pierre-Edouard, was born due to an illicit affair between his grandmother Marie-Leonie and the royal.

Scandal surrounded Edward VIII when he abdicated from the throne in order to marry American divorcée Wallis Simpson. However, if François Graftieaux's claims are to be believed, his actions could cause even more trouble for the Windsors.

Even if it were proved that François, who is now based in Portugal, is the grandson of Edward, he would have no claim to the throne as any of the Duke of Windsor's descendants lost their birth-right when he abdicated.

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However, François claims that his family "would have become nobility at the very least" if his father had been recognised as Edward VIII's son and heir.

After unsuccessful bids for DNA in 2004 and in 2013, he now says he's willing to sue Buckingham Palace if a third request is denied.

"I am not asking the Palace for money, title or power but merely to ascertain the identity of my grandfather and the circumstances surrounding my father's birth," said Mr. Graftieaux.

"If the Palace again refuses to cooperate, which I strongly suspect it will, then I am happy to seek legal advice and let what amounts to the largest Royal sex scandal in history play out in public through the courts."

The Royal Family can't be prosecuted under English criminal law, nor sued through the civil courts, but Mr Graftieaux may launch a legal case against the Palace itself and force an investigation, potentially under the Human Rights Act.

Mr Graftieaux's interest in his potential royal lineage first arose when a girlfriend told him he looked very much like the Duke of Windsor. His research began shortly after the death of his father Pierre-Edouard in 1994, however the soldier never revealed the identity of his grandfather, other than that he was someone famous who had not been "allowed to marry your grandmother".

Mr Graftieaux's believes the Marie-Leonie and the British royal met at the Luna Park in Paris and continued a clandestine relationship for two years whenever Edward could escape from his wartime duties.

But when Marie-Leonie fell pregnant in 1915 Edward ended the relationship and allegedly bought her silence.

This money that helped her to become one of France's leading fashion designers almost overnight - transforming her from penniless to plush.

Their love child was allegedly born in 1916. In the French tradition, it is usual to give as a second Christian name the father's first name. 'Eduoard' is the French for 'Edward'.

Having searched the family records offices in Paris, Francois discovered that his grandmother had not declared the name of the father on Pierre-Edouard's birth certificate.

And, to add further intrigue, Francois' mother received a Van Cleef and Arpels diamond bracelet and watch as a present when he was born in 1946 - based on an exclusive design created by the Duke of Windsor.

A similar timepiece, once owned by the Duchess of Windsor, was sold at auction in 2011 for £286,000.

Francois' findings were originally published by Cherche Midi in his French-language memoir, The Man Who Should Have Been King, in 2016.

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