Since Mookie Betts arrived in MLB five years ago, he’s consistently proven to be one of the game’s best players. This year he’s trying to win a World Series title with the LA Dodgers. It would be his second, after convincingly winning the World Series title and AL MVP with the Boston Red Sox in 2018. That same year Betts received some shocking news. He was related to a very well-known figure in the royal family.
Mookie Betts’ rise to stardom
After being drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the fifth round of the 2011 MLB Draft, Mookie Betts steadily made his way up through the minor leagues. He made his MLB debut in June 2014. He split time between the parent club and minors for much of the season but did stay long enough to hit a grand slam for the Sox and become the youngest player in the organization to achieve such a feat in 49 years.
In 2015, Betts hit a home run in his second at bat, becoming the third-youngest Red Sox player to hit a home run on Opening Day. Since that game, the Nashville, Tennessee native has been one of the best players in baseball. There’s no better evidence of this than the 2018 season when Betts became the first player in MLB history to win the Most Valuable Player, Silver Slugger, Gold Glove, batting title, and World Series in the same season.
As one of baseball’s most complete players, Betts helped the Red Sox defeat the LA Dodgers for the World Series that year. Interestingly, after the 2019 season, Betts joined the Dodgers. In July 2020, he signed a 12-year extension worth $365 million. During the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, he hit .292 and blasted 16 home runs.
Mookie Betts learns he’s related to Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex
In 2018, during the middle of one of the single-greatest seasons in MLB history, Mookie Betts received some shocking news off the field. He was related to Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex.
Jim McNiff, an amateur genealogist from Burlington, Mass., uncovered the connection between Betts and Markle. According to census records from 1870, Markle and Betts’ great-great-grandfathers, Jacob Betts and Joseph Betts, lived next door to each other on a plantation in Madison County, Alabama.
While his research was inconclusive on whether or not Joseph and Jacob were related, McNiff learned many of the residents in that area were descendants of slaves owned by Elisha Betts.
Interestingly, a second, more substantive link was identified through the marriage of Katie and Richard Betts in 1920. Katie Betts is Markle’s great-great-aunt, and Richard Betts is Mookie’s great-great-uncle, which means the royal family member and the right fielder are distant cousins, via marriage.
Mookie meets Meghan
A year after learning of his distant cousin, Mookie Betts and the Boston Red Sox were in London to play the New York Yankees. Markle had made limited appearances after giving birth to the royal couple’s first child, Archie. Betts knew Prince Harry would be in attendance at the game, but not Markle
“I didn’t know she was coming. I knew [Prince Harry] was coming,” Betts told the Boston Globe. “I told her about the story and she laughed and gave me a hug. She didn’t know about it. They probably didn’t believe it.”
Mookie Betts has won the league MVP. He has won a World Series. He’s related to royalty. If Betts wins his second World Series title with the LA Dodgers, it will be just another jewel in his crown.
All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference.