I'm Related to Ugandan Royalty. Maybe That Is Why I Got the OBE! Citizen Khan Creator Adil Ray, 43, May Have Been Awarded an OBE Last Year, but Little Did He Know His Family's Royal Connections Run Much Deeper. the Latest Celebrity to Delve into His Ancestry on BBC1 Series Who Do You Think You Are?, He Tells GEMMA DUNN of Surprise Discoveries, Happy Reunions and His Hopes for Today's Ever-Divisive World

Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England), July 22, 2017 | Go to article overview

I'm Related to Ugandan Royalty. Maybe That Is Why I Got the OBE! Citizen Khan Creator Adil Ray, 43, May Have Been Awarded an OBE Last Year, but Little Did He Know His Family's Royal Connections Run Much Deeper. the Latest Celebrity to Delve into His Ancestry on BBC1 Series Who Do You Think You Are?, He Tells GEMMA DUNN of Surprise Discoveries, Happy Reunions and His Hopes for Today's Ever-Divisive World


Byline: GEMMA DUNN

How much did you know of your ancestry before signing up to Who Do You Think You Are? I HAD a little idea. I knew that my grandfather had come from India and gone over to Kenya, like many Asians did at that time; and I knew that his first wife had died and he'd married an African woman, but I wasn't sure beyond that.

I never thought there would be an opportunity to find out more; you just think if there was more, you'd already know about it.

My mother felt the same, so to find out all of this, to find out that not only is there more history but that the African lineage goes back to more family and more importantly there are members of my family still around in Uganda, was just beautiful.

We see you meet some of your existing Ugandan family too. How was the reunion? IT WAS so lovely. For them to welcome me into their house, with camera crews and everything... They were so warm-hearted and so pleased to see me, with big smiles on their faces.

There were moments when I was sat with them that reminded me of my grandmother. I could feel the same energy, the mannerisms, the way they were.

It felt very similar in that sense and I felt very lucky to be in that situation.

Immigration is an important part of your story too.

MY MUM is from East Africa and my dad is from rural Pakistan, so my father would have been expected to marry someone who was from Pakistan and probably from his own village; and my mother was probably expected to marry somebody from East Africa, from the same sort of community, but they didn't.

Then I look back and my mum's mum, my grandmother, was married to an Indian trader and she is from a black African family and then her mother, again, was married to an Indian trader.

Imagine doing that in the early 1900s and in the 1800s? It's quite something.

I just feel really privileged and honoured to have that level of integration and that progressive streak throughout my family.

Do you think it's a lesson we could learn from today? IT'S a real reminder that we live in quite socially divided times. People want to try to divide us for various reasons of power, control, politics and religion, and actually we are all the same.

If you look in the mirror, you're not just white, you're not just Asian, and you're not just Muslim. We are lots of different Adil Ray with his things. We come from lots of different backgrounds. I hope when people watch Who Do You Think You Are? - certainly members of my own family will feel the same personal feeling that I have - they might go away themselves and go, 'Don't make judgments on others until you know where you're from yourself'.

You discover a royal connection in your Ugandan family. That must have come as a surprise? NOW it makes sense why the Queen gave me an OBE last year!

But no, it makes me proud and I want to find out more about that side of the family. …

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I'm Related to Ugandan Royalty. Maybe That Is Why I Got the OBE! Citizen Khan Creator Adil Ray, 43, May Have Been Awarded an OBE Last Year, but Little Did He Know His Family's Royal Connections Run Much Deeper. the Latest Celebrity to Delve into His Ancestry on BBC1 Series Who Do You Think You Are?, He Tells GEMMA DUNN of Surprise Discoveries, Happy Reunions and His Hopes for Today's Ever-Divisive World
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