Christopher Lee was one of the most prolific and versatile actors of the 20th and 21st centuries, with a career spanning over six decades and more than 250 film and television roles. He is best known for his portrayals of villains, such as Count Dracula, Saruman, and Count Dooku, but he also had a rich and diverse personal life, with connections to royalty, nobility, and famous figures from history and literature. In this article, we will explore some of the fascinating relatives of Christopher Lee, and how they influenced his life and career.
The Carandini family
Christopher Lee was born in Belgravia, London, on 27 May 1922, to Lieutenant Colonel Geoffrey Trollope Lee and Countess Estelle Marie Carandini di Sarzano. His mother was of Italian descent, and belonged to the noble Carandini family, which traced its lineage back to the first century AD. According to EntiTree, some of the notable ancestors of Christopher Lee from his maternal side include:
- Charlemagne: The first Holy Roman Emperor and the founder of the Carolingian Empire. He was a great patron of arts and education, and is regarded as one of the most influential figures in European history. He was Christopher Lee’s 35th great-grandfather.
- Frederick Barbarossa: The Holy Roman Emperor from 1155 to 1190. He was one of the most powerful rulers of his time, and led several military campaigns in Italy and the Crusades. He was Christopher Lee’s 24th great-grandfather.
- Dante Alighieri: The Italian poet and author of The Divine Comedy, one of the greatest works of world literature. He was also a political thinker and a prominent figure in the Florentine Republic. He was Christopher Lee’s 19th cousin, 15 times removed.
- Marie Carandini: The great-grandmother of Christopher Lee, and a famous opera singer in the 19th century. She performed in many countries, including Australia, India, and China, and sang with some of the most renowned composers and singers of her time, such as Giuseppe Verdi and Adelina Patti. She was also a vocal teacher and a philanthropist.
The Trollope family
Christopher Lee’s father, Geoffrey Trollope Lee, was a British Army officer who served in the Boer War and World War I. He was also a descendant of the Trollope family, which had a long tradition of military service and literary talent. According to WikiTree, some of the notable ancestors of Christopher Lee from his paternal side include:
- Sir John Trollope: The first Baronet Trollope of Casewick, Lincolnshire. He was a soldier who fought in the English Civil War on the side of King Charles I. He was also a Member of Parliament for several constituencies. He was Christopher Lee’s 8th great-grandfather.
- Anthony Trollope: The Victorian novelist and one of the most popular writers of his time. He wrote more than 40 novels, including the Chronicles of Barsetshire and the Palliser novels. He also worked as a postal surveyor and introduced the pillar box to Britain. He was Christopher Lee’s third cousin, four times removed.
- Joanna Trollope: The contemporary novelist and a distant relative of Anthony Trollope. She has written more than 20 novels, mostly in the genre of domestic fiction. She is also a patron of several charities and organisations, such as Booktrust and The Reading Agency. She is Christopher Lee’s sixth cousin.
Christopher Lee had many other relatives who were famous or influential in various fields. According to Wikipedia and other sources, some of them are:
- Ian Fleming: The creator of James Bond and the author of 14 novels featuring the iconic spy. He was also a naval intelligence officer during World War II, and a journalist and travel writer. He was Christopher Lee’s step first cousin, as his mother married Christopher Lee’s uncle after his father’s death.
- Harriet Walter: The acclaimed actress who has appeared in numerous stage, film, and television productions. She is known for her roles in Sense and Sensibility (1995), The Crown (2016–2020), Succession (2018–2020), and Killing Eve (2020). She is also a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE). She is Christopher Lee’s niece, as her father was Christopher Lee’s maternal half-brother.
- Robert E. Lee: The Confederate general who commanded the Army of Northern Virginia during the American Civil War. He is widely regarded as one of the most skilled military leaders in history, and a symbol of Southern heritage and culture. He was Christopher Lee’s third cousin, eight times removed.
Christopher Lee was not only a legendary actor, but also a man with a remarkable family history. He was related to some of the most influential and famous people in history, from emperors and poets to spies and generals. He was proud of his heritage, and often incorporated elements of his ancestry into his roles and projects. He once said, “I have a lot of people to live up to, a lot of nobility in my background, but I can’t live in the past. You have to live for the present and the future.” He certainly lived up to his legacy, and left behind a legacy of his own.