Keira Knightley

by ethnic on February 23, 2010

Birth Name: Keira Christina Knightley

Place of Birth: Richmond Upon Thames, Surrey, England, U.K.

Date of Birth: 26 March, 1985

Ethnicity: English, Scottish, Welsh

Keira Knightley is a British actress. She is famous for starring in the film Bend It Like Beckham, and the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy, among many other roles.

Keira is the daughter of actress and playwright Sharman MacDonald and actor Will Knightley (Kevin William Knightley). Her father is English. Her mother, who was born in Glasgow, Scotland, is of Scottish and Welsh ancestry. Her brother, Caleb Knightley, has also worked in film. Keira is married to musician James Righton, with whom she has a daughter.

She was meant to be named Kiera, after Russian figure skater Kira Ivanova. Her mother misspelt the name when registering her birth.

Keira’s paternal grandfather was William Francis Knightley (the son of Frederick William Knightley and Caroline Margaret Pepper). Frederick was the son of Charles Knightley and Sarah Ann Astle. Caroline was the daughter of John Pepper and Bridget.

Keira’s paternal grandmother was named Violet Grace Jones.

Keira’s maternal grandfather was Joseph Henry Hosgood MacDonald (the son of William Hearson H. MacDonald and Mary McDonald). Joseph was born in England, and had Scottish ancestry.

Keira’s maternal grandmother was named Janet Rewat Williams. Janet had Welsh ancestry.

Sources: Genealogies of Keira Knightley –

Article about Keira’s mother’s family –

photo by Featureflash /

{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

neiltennant October 21, 2017 at 2:34 am

She is definitely not only BRITISH

she is way too dark for a brit

every brit with that look has spanish, iranian, jewish or egyptian roots

for example JASMIN LE BON

she has the same look and has iranian blood

ses101 March 27, 2018 at 5:14 am

Half of Scotland has Celtic blood originating from Southern Europe so if the brown eyed dark haired Celts in her family tree kept marrying each other then that might explain her features. I would say, though, that she could certainly pass for being 1/8 Italian.

andrew June 22, 2017 at 12:26 pm

Considering her brother’s wedding, Scottish heritage is something important in her family

lelo4 August 1, 2016 at 1:24 pm

She looks like a typical woman from Spain or Portugal, not just coloring but feature-wise.

andrew August 1, 2016 at 4:15 pm

I don’t think so (about her as “typical”). She’s extremely pale and skinny. I personally don’t find her attractive at all.

follers August 2, 2016 at 9:32 am

She looks like Queen Rania of Jordan.

andrew June 22, 2017 at 12:04 pm

@ follers

She looks more like Natalie Portman than Queen Rania

neiltennant June 22, 2017 at 8:52 am


ask 100 people in each of the countries GERMANY, SPAIN, USA and in CHINA

and at least 90 people wouldn’t say ENGLISH but some meditarianien country

andrew June 22, 2017 at 12:07 pm

Try to spell it again. To have dark hair does not mean to look Mediterranean. Keira and her family does not look Southern European.

ses101 March 27, 2018 at 5:20 am

Why ask 100 Chinese people – do you think they would know better than actual BRITISH people? I’m from Scotland and I wouldn’t look at her and think she’s foreign. As I said elsewhere it wouldn’t surprise me if she has a little foreign blood, but it doesn’t scream in your face.

neiltennant December 31, 2017 at 1:54 pm

I agree

she looks like a Southern European woman

ses101 March 27, 2018 at 5:25 am

Yeah Neil, because everybody “British” only has light hair, blue eyes. and the same features. The small rural village I live in in Scotland must be full of Jews, Iranians, etc going by your analysis.

andrew July 31, 2016 at 4:55 pm

* English (father)
* Scottish, Welsh (mother)

follers July 31, 2016 at 5:12 pm

I think her father might have Scottish, Welsh, or other, ancestry as well.

neiltennant August 23, 2015 at 6:37 am

She is not the typical british girl

i looked at so many discussions and every time some speaks about the so called DARK BRITS Cheryl Cole, Vic Beckham and Keira Knightley are mentioned !

but this is not very accurate and reliable

i was in Britain years and years again and never seen Brits with that dark features without having Italian, Sephardic Jewish or other varieties

therefore I think there must be more research in the ethnic background of those mentioned people

stonelord November 1, 2015 at 11:19 am

I live in Britain and many, many people are dark haired and dark eyed, especially in the west (Cornwall, Devon) and in Wales, though you can find the type anywhere. I am myself and most of my family through several generations

gel August 1, 2016 at 3:38 pm

You said you were Irish before.

ses101 March 27, 2018 at 5:21 am

Why ask 100 Chinese people – do you think they would know better than actual BRITISH people? I’m from Scotland and I wouldn’t look at her and think she’s foreign. As I said elsewhere it wouldn’t surprise me if she has a little foreign blood, but it doesn’t scream in your face.

athelya November 17, 2015 at 11:19 am

dark brits exist specially south of london and the south in general.. kit harrington, orlando bloom, keira, emma watson are all very much british and imo the more attractive kind of brits

undashing April 16, 2014 at 6:37 am

Yes, she looks like a typical British girl.

Capricious April 2, 2015 at 6:07 am

Yep. Brits can have dark hair and dark eyes.

But Cheryl Cole (also with these features) is a suspicious one. She looks nothing like a full blown Brit.

neiltennant August 23, 2015 at 6:39 am


thats nonsense to talk about DARK BRITS and having only 2-3 people whose ancestry is not documented

what if cheryl coles mother who looks rather asian had been adopted or his grandpa or grandma had a relationship with asians ?

or when people are lying about ethnicity


Capricious October 9, 2015 at 1:06 am

Cheryl Cole is a bad argument here. Everyone would agree that she is NOT a full Brit. She’s hiding something.

But Knightly, Bloom, Sean Connery and Victoria Beckham can still pass as Brits.

Especially Knightly.

The Beautiful Ones December 17, 2013 at 12:30 pm
Hahaha January 17, 2014 at 5:20 am

Lol stop talking to yourself.

wendycs June 1, 2014 at 7:37 am

She is kind of plain looking, flat chested, her face is alright, but she is not ugly.

WTF June 1, 2014 at 9:54 am

i happen to think she’s gorgeous. she’s a classic beauty. and who cares if she’s flat chested. not everyone is into big boobs. i’d rather have a small chest than have gigantic knockers. life is easier with smaller boobs

neiltennant November 16, 2013 at 2:57 pm

she looks like a painting so wonderful face

J.J. September 26, 2013 at 1:58 am

correction; her eyes are hazel (light brown) and her hair is dark brown (brunette) I think it should be listed

J.J. January 27, 2014 at 1:00 am

correction; my mistake, her eyes are too dark to be classified as hazel, I think ‘brown’ is more appropriate

theropod June 26, 2013 at 1:10 am

Like Orlando Bloom, I thought she would have Serbian/Croatian roots cos so many of them resemble these two.

Tribe7 February 24, 2013 at 10:49 pm

she cannot act for toffee

andrew January 20, 2013 at 7:52 pm

so she’s British

Alice November 8, 2012 at 4:44 am

Yes she has Irish cousins but I haven’t been able to find anything that verifies that she has Irish ancestry herself. I’ll definitely post if I find anything though.

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