Kit Harington discovers his grandfather was a war spy with a link to James Bond
Kit Harington has discovered that his grandfather was a World War II spy who may have inspired the character of James Bond.
As if that legacy wasn’t enough, the Game of Thrones star also found out that his grandfather was part of a controversial and top secret plot which involved keeping tabs on the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.
Having never met his grandfather, Kit, 35, learnt about his family history during an appearance on Channel 4’s My Grandparents’ War, which sees celebrities retrace their grandparents’ experiences during the second world war.
Kit’s grandfather, who was tasked with keeping an eye on the Duke and Duchess of Windsor in case the former king passed any information to the Nazis, was also colleagues with James Bond creator Ian Fleming.
Having been recruited by naval intelligence in 1941 and sent to Jamaica, he met the British author and journalist who created the world’s most famous fictional spy in 1952, with the first 007 novel Casino Royale.
Speaking about his grandfather John’s history as a spy, Kit revealed it was ‘fascinating’ to discover that he was a descendant of the man who was in charge of one of the most controversial spying operations of the time.
John was also the 22-time great-grandson of King Edward III, meaning Kit found out about his royal lineage too.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Kit admitted he had heard ‘rumours’ before about his grandfather’s spying missions, but didn’t know the whole truth, nor did his own dad, Sir David Richard Harington.
‘We couldn’t find out huge details about it, but we know he was spying on them,’ he shared.
‘I said I think it’s really worth looking into my father’s parents, because I’ve heard some rumours, some… Chinese whispers… about what they’d been involved with.’
Meanwhile, Kit’s grandmother worked as a codebreaker in Bermuda, uncovering any coded messages from Nazi spies.
Kit was shocked to hear these stories unravel, having never heard about those years from his own grandparents.
The star also discussed the generational trauma he feels as though he has inherited, as his maternal grandfather was left with survivor’s guilt and trauma after his role as an officer in the Royal Artillery fighting in the Battle of Monte Cassino in Southern Italy in 1944.
‘My grandparents’ generation were very closed off, I think we’re much better off being able to discuss those conflicts and discuss those feelings – it stops them getting bottled up and harming us,’ he added to the publication.
Elsewhere in the docuseries, Keira Knightly, Emili Sandé and Toby Jones are set to uncover their own family histories.
In the next episode, according to the synopsis, Pirates of the Caribbean actress Keira ’embarks on an emotional journey of discovery to explore her grandparents’ extraordinary wartime stories, from her grandad’s dramatic war at sea, in the Navy, to her grandmother’s secret role in the D-Day landings.’
My Grandparents’ War airs tonight at 9pm on Channel 4.
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