Although Benedict Cumberbatch soon takes on the role of infamous English king Richard III in The Hollow Crown, the actor actually has another link to the character: he's related to him.

Kevin Schurer, a professor at the University of Leicester in the U.K., revealed the link between the actor and the former king, showing that they are third cousins, 16 times removed. Although up to 17 million people in the UK have some link to the king, Cumberbatch is more of a direct descendant than most.

"He [Cumberbatch] is more direct because he is a third cousin," says Schurer. "Most other relatives would be much lower order cousins. I think the Queen would be a third cousin several times removed as well."

Cumberbatch is best known for his role as Sherlock Holmes in Sherlock, although he's also garnered attention as a film actor, most notably as Khan in Star Trek: Into Darkness and the voice of Smaug the dragon in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit films.

Richard III is famous thanks to his portrayal by William Shakespeare in the play of the same name. Thr play paints him as a villainous king whose most well-quoted line in the play occurs just before his death: "A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!"

The king also made headlines recently when his body was finally discovered under a Leicester parking lot. DNA evidence confirmed that the body was indeed that of the 15th century king. He will be officially buried at Leicester Cathedral next week with a large funeral service led by the Church of England's Archbishop of Canterbury. Services will even broadcast on live TV.

Ironically, Cumberbatch will soon appear as King Richard III in the three-part BBC series The Hollow Crown, which features performances of Shakespeare's historically-based plays. One might say that his inspiration for the role is in his blood.

"If his conclusions are right then it seems highly probable that Benedict may indeed be related to many characters he has played and will play in future with some exceptions such as Sherlock," says Bob Cumberbatch, who handles genealogy for the family.

Previously, genealogists also traced Cumberbatch to groundbreaking computer scientist Alan Turing shortly after Cumberbatch portrayed him last year in The Imitation Game. That portrayal may very well earn the actor his first Academy Award this year.

At this rate, we'll all soon learn we're related to Cumberbatch.

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