My Habsburg Jaw

Updated: Mar 18, 2020

One of my most prominent facial features is my chin. When I was fourteen years old, I was diagnosed with Velo-Cardio-Facial-Syndrome, which was the cause for my chin's prominence. I was a little self-conscious about it, but my mom told me then that I inherited it from my dad and my maternal grandfather. Once I started doing some research, I found my ancestry, (and possibly my chin), could be traced back hundreds of years to royalty.

Our ancestry can tell us much about who we are today. Once I started doing some research, I found out that I was a direct descendant of Maximillian I von Habsburg, Holy Roman Emperor (1459-1519). As I was researching the Habsburg family, I came across something known as the “Habsburg Jaw.” For laughs, I put a picture of one of the Habsburg emperors next to one of mine on Facebook. I quickly got a lot of likes and people commenting how much we looked alike! I found this to be really exciting. It inspired me to do more research on the Imperial and Royal Habsburg family and Velo-Cardio-Facial-Syndrome as well.

I started digging deeper and doing more research, using websites like allows you type in the name of a celebrity or another notable person and find out if you are related to them. So again, I typed in Richard III of England to see if I was related. Richard III was an infamous British king, inspiring the famous play by Shakespeare and was known for being a hunchback. However, a hunchback is somebody who has a severe case of scoliosis, and I myself have a mild case of scoliosis. Well, my results came back and it turned out I was a 1st cousin 16 times removed, which meant he was a 1st cousin 16 generations ago. It makes me wonder if theres a chance my own mild scoliosis could be traced to a king.

My VCFS and my ancestry bring up many questions with answers I am still learning about. It’s been more important though to embrace and celebrate what I look like today. Looking at my research, it seemed like people didn't really think much about physical differences hundreds of years ago; so why should people think so much about it now? The physical differences these kings had didn't seem to stop them from ruling or going into battle. If they can live their lives with differences, then we can most certainly live our lives with our differences today.


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