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The Legend of George Rex

Updated on September 17, 2010

George Rex - Son of George III

For almost two centuries now people all around the world have been intrigued by the legend of George Rex, the founder and proprietor of Knysna. The story goes that George Rex was the illegitimate son of George III, Prince of Wales at the time, and a Quaker girl, Hannah Lightfoot.

The legend that is known by so many is that George Rex should have been king instead of George IV after George III died in 1820. And of course, if this is true a family other than the Windsors would be reigning England today.

On May 27, 1759, the Prince of Wales secretly married Hannah Lightfoot. They did this in a reserved ceremonious way in order that only a select few would know their secret to the end.

Once married Hannah Lightfoot was whisked away and hidden. Their mystery grew and nearly two hundred years later people are still searching for the rightful queen of England for that time.

Unravelling the story of George Rex and his parents is a storytellers dream. For generations parents and grandparents have told their offspring of their blue-blooded heritage, aligning them to the British throne, dating back to the Hanoverians.

To find out more about the legend of George Rex please visit the site listed below.

Darryn Rex

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      Johan Fourie 7 years ago

      It is such shame that the history of knysna is unknown to the inhabitants and visitors to knysna.This history should be published by the city cuncil of Knysna

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      Margaret Rex 7 years ago

      Dear Darryn, please correct your spelling. It is not "the British thrown", but "the British THRONE." Come come, don't embarrass us.

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      Keith Lindsay-Ayres 6 years ago

      allegedly I supposed to be distantly related to George. My family came from Knynsna

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      Maureen Jansen 6 years ago

      A book now out of print but still available is "Genealogy of the Rex Family" by Arthur J Rex Beddy - printed by A A Balkema / Cape Town 1971. It list all descendants born until approximately the the late 1950's.

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      George Rex 6 years ago

      My name is George Rex . My fathers name was Glasgow Rex. He died 54 years ago. My Uncle George Rex related this same story to me as a young child and only recently do i realize there may be some validity to the story. If anyone has any further information please respond to gfr_cont@yahoo.com My full Name is George Finchture Rex

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      pam quinton 6 years ago

      George there is a book called "George Rex of Knysna"

      There are a few listed for sale on "Bidorbuy" www.bidorbuy.co.za

      I have read this book and it is very interesting

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      chelsea weller 6 years ago

      My fathers name, garry and his sisters, carol and lyn are recorded in the family tree of george rex in the muesum in knysna

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      Robyne Jeffery 6 years ago

      Hi there

      I was told the same story by my family. I was told that one of the sons of George Rex (or grandsons?) was the grandfather of my great grandmother...or something like that? would be very interesting to trace the heritage.

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      paula.couper@gmail.com 6 years ago

      Do you know of late Aida Gibbs. She lived in Knysna and shipped out of England. I have been told about Legend of George Rex and George Rex of Knysna as she was apparently related.

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      Kristi Rex 5 years ago

      I find this all so interesting....; )

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      Tuggy Meyer 5 years ago

      There was a BBC Documentary a few years back on this and from memory Rex wasn't illegitimate but the only son of George III and his first wife. They married in London but within a year this was hushed up, the London Church's records removed and his 2nd wife becoming the official wife. My Grandfather was from the Cape and so there was family whisper of this "wrong side of the bed sheets" Hanoverian connection. Who knows. The DNA is supposed to disprove this (2004) but, conspiracy theory aside, can you imagine the Royal family holding up their collective hands and saying, "sorry, we shouldn't be here"?!! Not a chance, right or wrong.

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      Darryn Rex 5 years ago

      Absolutely Tuggy! My uncle was in one of those documentries and I was in another. I never did get my DNA results back. Say no more! ;)

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      Cindy Ferguson (nee Mundell) 5 years ago

      Wow! This story also ran in our family. The link was supposed to be through Andrew Geddes Baine, who is my 4x great-grandfather.

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      Elizabeth C Rex 5 years ago

      What a great surprise, Finding this page. As you can see my surname is Rex. I was married to Edgar Evans Rex son of Jan Rex. The family tree can be traced to George Rex of Knysna. But I don't know if anyone has ever spoken about the connection between George Rex of Knysna and Dr. James Berry(Barry). I was told that according to the legend that Dr. Berry(Barry), paid frequent visits to South Africa and use to come hunting in the Magaliesburg near Rustenburg in the North West. It is also said that he was well known for being able to handle a sword with great expertise. The Rex family in Rustenburg stays on a farm in the Rustenburg distict that can be found on any detailed map of the country.

      Hope that the ledgend never dies. It is also said that on a stormy night a ship, by the name of the Fair Quaker, was to come to shore at the Heads in Knysna and that the ship never reached the shore and sank within view, and that a man recovered a body from the wreck and buried the person in an unmarked grave in the Rex family cemetary in Knysna. The was also a book written by Patricia Storer( Pardon if the spelling is not right) bay the name of " The death of a Legned" This is somewhat upsetting for us believers in the legend for she firmly believes that due to dates given and birth registars and the more, that the legend is all it is believed to be Just a Legend.

    • daravino profile image
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      daravino 5 years ago

      Hi Elizabeth, very good to hear from you. Like you and many others I have been in contact with I truly hope this legend never dies. The legend of George Rex will always carry a mysteriousness about it along with the romantic nature of a fairytale at the same time.

      I would certainly like to look more into the Doctor Berry (Barry) to learn more about the hunting that took place. Very interesting.

      Thank you again.

    • daravino profile image
      Author

      daravino 5 years ago

      With the enthusiasm from this hub, I decided to create a website about the Legend of George Rex which I will keep adding to as time goes on. Please join us at http://www.georgerex.org/

      Thanks everyone!

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      Carlyn Oppelt (Rodgers) 5 years ago

      This legend was told by our great aunt of George Rex being the illegitimate child of George III. Also that his nanny came to South Africa with him. Quite a twist in this tale! Also that the Rodgers family is related? My great grandfather apparently cam from Scotland and help build the bridge at Gouritz- the one the do the bungi jumping from! Interesting story. Was not aware that others knew this!

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      Ian Currie 5 years ago

      I am the great-great-grandson of Caroline Rex, who married Thomas Henry Duthie. She was the eldest child of George Rex and his second "wife", Carolina Margaretha Ungerer.I would be very interested to hear from other Rex family members as I am trying to update the Rex family tree.

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      Mark Taylor 5 years ago

      Am most interested in the Knysna Tree. In particular the nsnname of the first white settlers farm in the centre of the Garden Route. Thx AMt.

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      Alexandre Rex Salomon 5 years ago

      Good day Ian Currie, I am Alexandre Rex Salomon, daughter of Andrew Peter Rex Salomon, son of Andrew Peter Rex Salomon, son of Elias Felix Rex Salomon, son of Caroline Nicola Obins Atkinson and Felix Paul Mendelsohn Salomon. My Dad's generation were the last entries in the Genealogy of the Rex Family, by Arthur J. Rex Beddy. Are you carrying on the family tree Ian? My e-mail is alexandre.salomon9@gmail.com

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      Carla 4 years ago

      I am busy doing a project on this for my school. I have no idea what to do. I am screwed

    • daravino profile image
      Author

      daravino 4 years ago

      Hi Carla,

      You are more than welcome to ask questions here for your project or email me on darryn@be-easy.com if you would like further information on George Rex.

      Take care.

      Darryn Rex

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      Sarah 4 years ago

      As much as this is a wonderful story ( I too have been told I'm related to George Rex), DNA done in 2004 has shown that there is no connection to King George.

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      Greg Lyseng 3 years ago

      We too are related to George Rex, and have documents for Frederick Vaughan Miller, would like to connect....anyone out there with family tree info?

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      John 3 years ago

      And the Royals still vist them if in Africa !

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      williamcharlesrex 3 years ago

      According to genealogy register my family is related to George Rex, who stayed in the knoetsy castle at Knysna until my brothers name Henry Thomas Island George Rex. Mine doesn`t appears there because I was born during 1970. How ever my late father, William Charles Rex, told me many times of this fairy tale story because as evidence has proof according DNA tests proof it that this, sad to say, is only a wish-full story. I don`t believe it. My brother, Henry, in the other hand so much believe in it he made a movie about it. If this is so much true in this story then we can relate our selfs to the late Princes Diana where all evidence were cleared up to a deadline. If the Rex- story is based on a wish-full thinking, why making a big so big fuss over it?

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      Lynda 3 years ago

      Does anyone know the names of the king and Hannah's other children - think there was another boy, and 2 girls; as the story goes

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      Ian Currie 3 years ago

      Hi Greg Leyseng, I would love to make contact. Happy to share info about the family tree with any family member. My email is ruanthai@telkomsa.net.

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      Beverley Keogh 3 years ago

      My great grandmother was Eliza Sutherland and her father, Col. John Sutherland, sold land to George Rex. The Sutherland and Rex families were great friends and the 12 year old Eliza kept a diary in which she records visiting the Rex family and going on outings and picnics together. (Eliza's governess's daughter married into the Rex family.)

      I have this precious diary. The George Rex Museum in Knysa have a photocopy of the diary which I sent them some years ago.

      It has always been believed by the family that George the Third married the Quaker, Hannah Lightfoot, and they had George Rex and 2 daughters. George, in his 30s, was given extensive lands in Knysna and developed the country around, becoming a leading figure there. He was made to promise never to speak about his father or to make any claim to the throne. He and his family adhered faithfully to this promise.

      An interesting fact was that, though very little is known about Hannah Lightfoot, her portrait was painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds, which indicates that she must have been someone of consequence.

      I have a copy of the book mentioned, 'George Rex of Knynsa', which puts forward a believable account of the family's connection to royalty.

      I hope this short review will be of interest to anyone connected with the Rex family.

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      Trevor Rix 2 years ago

      First of all I would like to know more about the DNA testing that was referred to earlier in this thread. Who tested? Which test did they take? With which company did they test?

      I am the volunteer administrator of the worldwide Rix/Ricks/Rex Y-DNA study and as such am able to clarify the situation regarding the Rex family of Knysna, South Africa.

      A Y-DNA test of a descendant of this family reveals that he is genetically closely related to several Rix families in the county of Norfolk, England. Refer to kit number 177978 here.

      http://goo.gl/ayoxqX

      http://www.familytreedna.com/public/rix

      For a brief explanation visit here.

      http://www.rix-alliance.com/page2.htm

      As well as DNA testing, I research the family of everyone that tests starting from scratch. Here is the male line ancestry of George Rex who died 3 Apr 1839 in Knysna, South Africa that I have researched.

      George Rex

      born 29 Aug 1765

      baptised 2 Sep 1765 Whitechapel St Mary, London

      died 3 Apr 1839 Knysna, South Africa

      John Rex (mother Theodora Hopkins)

      baptised 25 May 1726 Whitechapel St Mary, London

      married Sarah Creasey 17 Nov 1764 Whitechapel St Mary, London

      died 1792

      Thomas Rex

      married (1) Margaret Constable 7 Apr 1706 St Katherine Creechurch, London

      married (2) Theodora Hopkins 31 Mar 1720 St Nicholas Cole Abbey, London

      buried 22 Nov 1736 Whitechapel St Mary, London

      I have images of the sources for these events if anyone would like copies.

      Regarding the fable of descent from King George III, I would recommend http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Rex which mentions the book "George Rex: Death of a Legend" which disproves the theory.

      The Y-DNA test is scientific proof that there is no descent from George III. The descent is from Rix in Norfolk, England.

      Please ask if you would like more information. If any male Rix or Ricks or Rex would like to test their Y-DNA let me know and I will explain what happens and advise what to do.

      Trevor Rix

      trevor@trevorrix.co.uk

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      Margaret R 2 years ago

      I think that if Geroge Rex was indeed illegitimate he would not have any claim to the throne.

      I also have George Rex as a possible relation to my grandfather, of whose family very little was known there is a niece of my grandfather's who was named Rex but I am inclined to believe that the whole thing is legend!

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      camdenham 2 years ago

      All wonderful legends for the "Knysna Royals", and I love a good story, but sorry, no cigar. For an to the British throne to be eligible, they not only have to be born within wedlock, but that wedding needs to have been approved by the reigning sovereign, so even if George and Hannah were married, that marriage doesn't allow it's offspring to be considered eligible to inherit the crown if the monarch at the time did not consent to it, so regretably, it looks unlikely that the House of Windsor shall be toppled any time soon.

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