26 January, 2018
A decades-old mystery involving the identity of a mummified woman in Switzerland has been solved, unearthing a surprise twist - she's reportedly a relative of Boris Johnson. She is believed to be Johnson's great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandmother, according to researchers who had been testing her body since 2015and announced their findings on Thursday.
Local historians knew that members of the city's wealthy families were buried in and around the Barfüsser Church. While little is known about Anna's life, her body dressed in good quality clothes and riddled with mercury, which was a standard treatment for syphilis from the 15th century onwards.
Her body was found buried in front of an altar in 1975 during renovations on Barfusser Church.
It only became clear past year, based on newly discovered archives, that the mummy had been uncovered once before, in 1843.
Saliva samples from living descendants were compared with the mitochondrial DNA of the mummy and researchers found a 99.8% match.
Researchers then set out to discover the genealogical tree of the woman.More news: President Trump signs massive tax bill into law
It may also, however, be responsible for the well-preserved state of her body.
Genealogists were able to trace Anna Catharina's descendants through birth, marriage, and death records.
He previously told the BBC programme Who Do You Think You Are? that he was a "product of many countries" and described his von Pfeffel ancestors as "posh toffs". There, it is believed, she may have contracted syphilis while caring for patients with the sexually transmitted disease. One of them - a daughter also named Anna - married Christian Hubert Baron Pfeffel von Kriegelstein.
Their daughter Yvonne married Osman Wilfred Johnson Kemal and their son, Stanley Johnson, went on to have British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.
After the death of her husband, she returned to her home town of Basel, and apparently underwent rigorous mercury treatment in the hope of a cure.
The Foreign Secretary has not commented on the discovery, but is known for his global ancestry.