MEGHAN MARKLE must be carrying the redhead gene, it has emerged, following the release of a new Christmas photograph of the Sussex family in which Archie’s ginger hair is on full display. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex today shared the first image of their daughter, Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, in a family portrait featured on their official Christmas card. The photo shows the family of four laughing as Meghan holds her daughters in her arms. Lilibet, now six months old, was born in June, and is their second child after Archie Harrison, two.
While the image of Lilibet has the attention of royal fans, it is Archie’s full head of hair — and its colour — that has stolen the show. The toddler can be seen with a short, curly mop that is a bright red — just like his dad.
The redhead gene is something that scientists have looked at and studied for years. Many parents often wonder if their children will be born with red hair, even if they themselves are not redheaded. DNA companies have even offered people chances at seeing whether their children will inherit the so-called “ginger gene” — the MC1R gene.
This gene is recessive, meaning that a person needs two copies of it for it to show up or be expressed. Harry has always been likened to his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales’ side of the family, namely for his red hair which is a Spencer trait.
But somewhere down the line, his father, Prince Charles’ side of the family too must have had a redhead lineage.The same, then, can be said of Meghan.
Because MCR1 is recessive, if both parents carry the gene, just one in four of their children are likely to turn out to be a redhead. But the key is that both parents must be carrying the gene. As a result, families that have no redheads for decades can suddenly discover a redheaded child in their midst.
Dr Jim Wilson, chief scientist at BritainsDNA, previously told the Daily Mail: “Families can carry a variant for generations, and when one carrier has children with another carrier, a redheaded baby can appear seemingly out of nowhere.”
It is not known which member of Meghan’s family may have had a full head of red hair. On a global scale, red hair is actually quite rare. Just over 0.5 percent, or one in 200 people, are redheads, amounting to almost 40 million people. In Ireland, an estimated 10 percent of the population has red hair, though about 40 percent of the Irish carry the recessive gene.
While in Scotland and England, 13 percent and 6 percent, respectively, are redheaded.In their Christmas card, Harry and Meghan said: “This year, 2021, we welcomed our daughter, Lilibet, to the world. Archie made us a ‘Mama’ and a ‘Papa,’ and Lili made us a family.
“As we look forward to 2022, we have made donations on your behalf to several organisations that honour and protect families — from those being relocated from Afghanistan, to American families in need of paid parental leave.”
In the photograph, Lilibet too looks as though she has a burgeoning head of red hair.With the Christmas card posted to Twitter, one user wrote: “The red hair gene is strong with these children.” Another said: “Looks like another redhead wonder!” A third said: “Beautiful family!”
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