Scientists discover mummy found in church is Boris Johnson's relative

Boris Johnson and his mummified ancestor
SRF GETTYBoris Johnson and his mummified ancestor
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26 January, 2018

The scientists extracted DNA from the mummy's big toe and it was compared with DNA from descendants of the Bischoff line. While little is known about Anna's life, her body dressed in good quality clothes and riddled with mercury, which was a standard treatment for syphilis from the 15th century onwards. Anna Catharina Bischoff died in the 16th-century, but her body was only discovered in 1975 in front of the altar in a church in Basel.

DNA tests show Bischoff died of mercury poisoning, which explains why the remains were so well preserved - the poison acted as a preservative.

Scientific analysis dated the coffin to the 16th century, the BBC reports, when Basel was "a wealthy trading city" on the busy Rhine shipping route.

We now know the toxic chemical is more likely to kill than a cure a patient.

Newly discovered archives in 2017 led historians to suspect the mummy was of a well-established Basel family, the Bischoffs. A 99.8 per cent match was found and the relationship to the Johnson family was confirmed by records of births, deaths and marriages.

They found she had seven children, of which only two survived.

Scientists examine the mummy
SRFScientists examine the mummy at their laboratory in Basel

Once Anna Catharina's husband passed away, she returned to her hometown and started an intense treatment to cure the disease, but to no avail.

Five generations of von Pfeffels later, and Marie Luise von Pfeffel married Stanley Fred Williams.

Anna Catharina Bischoff is believed to be the great-great-great-great-great-great-grandmother of the British Foreign Secretary.

Mr Johnson hasn't commented on the discovery of his long lost relative, but he is aware of the von Kriegelstein connection, having once told the BBC programme "Who Do You Think You Are?' that they were 'posh toffs".

Their daughter Yvonne married Osman Wilfred Johnson Kemal... and their son, Stanley Johnson, is British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson's father.

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