SALT LAKE CITY -- A little British intrigue has landed itself squarely in Salt Lake City.
“Are you the King of England?” James Knight Ord the III is asked over tea at the London Market near Liberty Park.
"I am not the King of England, not by any stretch of the imagination,” replied Ord.
The Daily Mail, a UK paper, has a splashy headline: "Could this ex-Mormon lawyer be the true heir to the British throne?" Underneath is a picture of Ord, along with a detailed history of his possible link to King George the IV.
"Gay ex-Mormon is our new king,” Ord said with a laugh, referring to article.
He has heard the story before. As a teenager, his grandfather pulled him aside and spun a tale that would set anyone dreaming.
"Our family would have been the rightful heirs of the crown, but we were sent off packing,” Ord said.
Before ascending to the throne, King George the IV may have had an illegal marriage in the late 1700s to a Roman Catholic woman named Maria Fitzherbert. When, then Prince George the IV, rose to the throne, the marriage was annulled. Fitzherbert had to agree to end the marriage, but she may have held back on a key issue.
"They tried to get her to sign the back of her marriage certificate that she had no issue, that there were no children of issue from the marriage and she, of course, refused to do so,” Ord said.
If they had a child, Ord may be a direct descendant. However, he notes he’s not the only one, estimating there are likely at least 15 James Ords who could claim the same lineage.
"It's fun to muse on, especially when I was a lad,” Ord said.
He believes the family tale is true. Over the years, he’s talked several other James Ords in the world, all with the same story.
They were all pulled aside by a grandfather in their teens and told, “my family would have been the rightful heirs,” Ord said.
The Salt Lake City James Knight Ord the III is a married gay man with four adopted kids. He makes no claims of his own birthright, nor is he asking for a DNA test (as some publications have suggested). Instead, he enjoys researching the family history.
As an attorney, he knows, even if the story were proved true, the family has long since lost its claim to royalty. But like everyone else that hears the tale, the intrigue of the monarchy is irresistible.