Adventurer Bear Grylls has said it was “epic” to learn he is related to Robert the Bruce while filming Who Do You Think You Are?
Grylls travelled to Scotland to find out about the royal connection, explaining that he did it for his mother, who “had hoped” they were related to royalty.
Talking to Radio Times about his appearance in the latest series of the BBC ancestry show, Grylls said: “My mother has always really wanted me to do it, because she had hoped we were related to someone royal.
“She’s now 82 and my sister took me to one side and said, ‘Mate, you have to do it’.”
He went on: “I have always loved Scotland, it’s where I met my wife Shara.
“As soon as I was told we were going to Scotland I thought that was awesome, because it’s where my heart has always been.”
Robert the Bruce was the Scottish king who defeated Edward II at the battle of Bannockburn in 1314, and Grylls described him as “a clansman who rewrote the rules of conventional soldiering”.
“He was an inspirational leader who spent time in the great outdoors, he came back transformed and renewed,” he said.
“It was epic for me to follow that, and to understand a connecting spirit through our lives.”
Grylls also discovers that he is related to Archibald Campbell, first Marquess of Argyll, who was beheaded in 1661 for supporting Oliver Cromwell.
Campbell resisted religious changes that had been brought in by Charles I, and his life was brought to an end when he faced “The Scottish Maiden” – an early form of guillotine.
It had taken some persuading for Grylls to get on board with the show, which he had been turning down for more than a decade.
He told Radio Times: “I just didn’t want to do it.
“I don’t like doing TV and I didn’t have an aspiration to do the show.”
He said he has always struggled with doing TV, but has often found strength and resilience in pushing through.
He said: “You can be good at something and still struggle.
“I used to get annoyed about the fact that I found it difficult, but now I believe a sort of natural tension is quite good.”
Having finished the filming, Grylls now thinks that the show was “made for me”.
He said: “All of it now makes sense, seeing people who took the road less trodden, who never gave up, people who valued Scouting, and family.”
The new episode, on June 15 on BBC One, will look at his Army and Scouting links, as well as his royal connections.
The full Bear Grylls interview can be read in the next issue of Radio Times, on sale now.
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