London: English actress Helena Bonham Carter bears a striking resemblance to some sketches of Florence Nightingale and her cousin, and now we know why—the two are related.
The 44-year-old star of the Merchant Ivory films ‘Howard’s End’ and ‘A Room With A View’ is the first cousin three times removed of the Lady with the Lamp.
Florence’s mother Fanny was the sister of Joanna Smith, who married John Bonham Carter, Helena’s great-great grandfather.
Last week marked the centenary of the nurse’s death as The Florence Nightingale Museum in London unveiled drawings of her by Hilary Bonham Carter, John’s eldest daughter.
Florence spent her childhood at Embley Park, a mansion in Hampshire, where the Bonham Carter family had been prominent figures since the 17th century.
“Hilary’s sketches give a vivid impression of the private life of Florence Nightingale. There are pictures of her with her sister Parthenope at the piano and one of her riding her horse in the garden,” the Daily Express quoted Hampshire Record Office archivist David Rymill as saying.
“Hilary went on to be one of Florence’s assistants after she finished in the Crimea,” he added.
Letters Florence exchanged with the Bonham Carter family reveal her deep affection for the childhood days she spent with them.
The sketches are on display at the museum, whose spokeswoman said: “It’s exciting to be able to hint at the family relationship between these two extraordinary women.”