LONDON: If royal genes have any influence, John Kerry looks destined to dethrone George W. Bush in November's US presidential election. According to a theory its British proponents say has proved surprisingly accurate over the past century , the candidate with the bluest blood in his veins will win the White House. In 2000 it was Bush. This time, it's John Kerry.

"Our research is not yet complete but my bet is that Kerry has more royal connections and that he is more noble than President Bush," said Harold Brooks-Baker, publishing director of Burke's Peerage, a guide to the British aristocracy.

"But both candidates have a remarkable number of royal connections and both are related to Queen Elizabeth."y , a Yale-educated war veteran, is preparing to take on Republican Bush in what many believe may be one of the most bitterly fought presidential campaign in history.

The 60-year-old can trace his roots back to the first Massachusetts governor, John Winthrop, to every great family in Boston and to a host of royals in Europe.

"Kerry can almost certainly be traced back to King James I and to the bloodlines straight through the Windsor and Hanover families," Brooks-Baker said.

James I, the son of Mary, Queen of Scots, ruled England from 1603-1625 and is best remembered for commissioning a new translation of the Bible. Much of Mr Kerry's royal heritage comes through his mother's side. Kerry, a Catholic, recently learned that his paternal grandfather was an ethnic German Jew born in a former mining town near the Polish border.

A mountainside Swiss boarding school, popular with Habsburgs, Rothschilds, Spanish princes and other European nobility, has dusted off its files to reveal an 11-year-old Kerry was top of his class when he spent a year there half a century ago.

Although Mr Kerry's family tree might have more royal branches than Bush's, the president himself is no commoner. Bush was more royal than Al Gore, his opponent four years ago, and also boasts a direct descent from Henry III and from Henry VIII's sister Mary Tudor, who was also the wife of Louis XI of France.

He is also descended from Charles II of England. Brooks-Baker said there has always been a significant "royalty factor" in those who aspired to the White House. -Reuters

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