Saturday the 15th of May

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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Blimey, I’m related to a saint says Eastenders sinner Danny

EastEnders’ Danny Dyer has discovered that he is descended from a 13th century Catholic saint.

The soap star, 41, found out he is descended from Louis IX of France – a king who was later canonised St Louis – during the first episode of Danny Dyer’s Right Royal Family.

The two-part BBC One series charts Dyer’s regal lineage, living out pivotal moments in his ancestors’ lives.

During last week’s episode Dyer heard how Louis IX would use a hot rod to brand the lips of those who had committed blasphemy.

However, Dr Emily Guerry, a medieval historian, explained how he eventually changed his ways and “became a man who actually modelled himself on Jesus Christ and lived to imitate Christ”.

Viewers heard how Louis IX – who Dyer described as ”a rather splendid chap” – “lived like a monk who prayed every hour and was whipped each day, while embracing those on the margins, washing the feet of lepers and feeding the poor at his table”.

During the episode Dyer changed into clothes similar to the ones his saintly ancestor would have worn and led a procession barefoot through the streets of Paris – something Louis IX used to do.

“To actually walk in King Louie IX’s footsteps, to think that he did this, as a king, I really respect him,” said Dyer.

“I admire him because he practices what he preaches and is showing everybody, he doesn’t care, he’s walking for six miles barefoot in pain and that you’ve got to respect considering the money and wealth and the life he could have lived and I think it’s very, very brave.”

Dyer also visited Notre Dame Cathedral to see a tunic worn by his 26th great grandfather and the Sainte-Chapelle, a royal chapel in the Gothic style, within the medieval Palais de la Cité, the residence of the kings of France until the 14th century.

The revelation that Dyer is a descendent of Louis IX comes after the soap star discovered in 2016 that he is related to Thomas Cromwell, Edward III, William the Conqueror and Henry III during filming for BBC’s Who Do You Think You Are?

Danny Dyer’s Right Royal Family continues tonight at 9pm on BBC ONE.

Picture: Danny Dyer in the Sainte Chapelle in Paris. (BBC/Wall to Wall Media).