Lily James

2013 Laurence Olivier Awards - Arrivals

James in 2013, photo by

Birth Name: Lily Chloe Ninette Thomson

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

Date of Birth: 5 April, 1989

Ethnicity: French, English, Scottish, small amounts of German and Dutch

Lily James is an English actress. Her roles include the films Wrath of the Titans, Fast Girls, Cinderella, Burnt (2015), Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, The Exception, Baby Driver, Darkest Hour (2017), The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Little Woods, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, Yesterday (2019), Rare Beasts, Rebecca (2020), The Dig (2021), What’s Love Got to Do with It? (2022), The Iron Claw, and Finally Dawn; and television’s Just William, Secret Diary of a Call Girl, Downton Abbey, War & Peace (2016), The Pursuit of Love, and Pam & Tommy.

She is the daughter of Ninette and James Stewart “Jamie” Thomson, who was an actor and musician. Her stage surname James is after her father’s first name. Her father was born in Chicago, Cook, Illinois, to a Scottish father and an American mother. Her mother was born in Wegberg, Germany, to an English father and a French mother.

Lily’s paternal grandfather was named James Hamish Thomson (the son of James Thomson). Lily’s grandfather James was born in Inverkeithing, Fife, Scotland, and was a dental surgeon.

Lily’s paternal grandmother was Helen Horton, an actress (born Helen Virginia Horton, the daughter of Walter Clark “Bud” Horton and Frances Katherine Stewart). Helen was American, born in Chicago, Cook, Illinois, of English, Scottish, German, and Dutch descent. Helen had deep colonial American roots, going back to the 1600s. Walter was the son of Walter Shurts Horton, who was general counsel for the Illinois Central railroad, and of Alice Cary Jones. Lily’s great-grandmother Frances was the daughter of William W. Stewart and Mary Ellen McArthur, who was born in Collingwood, Ontario, Canada. Mary’s father was from Bomohn, Scotland, and her maternal grandparents were also Scottish.

Lily’s maternal grandfather was William Eric Mantle (the son of William James Mantle and Laura Edith Carter). Lily’s grandfather William was born in Tiverton, Devon, England, and was a Christian minister. Laura was the daughter of John Carder and Eva Nott.

Lily’s maternal grandmother was named Marinette R. Touzet. Marinette was French. She left her village near Paris at eleven, because of the Nazi invasion.

Lily is a sixth cousin of President George H. W. Bush, a sixth cousin, once removed, of the first President Bush’s children, President George W. Bush and Governor of Florida Jeb Bush, and a sixth cousin, twice removed, of the second President Bush’s daughter, journalist Jenna Bush Hager, and Jeb’s son, politician George P. Bush. Lily’s paternal great-great-great-great-grandfather, Stephen Horton, was a brother of the first President Bush’s great-great-great-great-grandmother, Sarah Horton. Their parents were Comfort Horton and Joanna Wood.

With Scotland as a “country within the United Kingdom,” each of Lily’s grandparents was born in a different country, something that is fairly rare. Actors Remy Auberjonois, Hart Bochner, Raymond Cham, Jr., Noah Emmerich, Stephen Lang, Jessica Lange, Logan Lerman, Robert Morley, Brett Pierce, Ben Rosenfield, Andy Samberg, and Wallace Shawn, musicians Tom Cochrane, Paula Cole, Alex Pall, and Jeff Stinco, politicians Nick Clegg and Ricardo Maduro, and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, are others whose grandparents were born in four individual countries.


Genealogy of Lily James –

Lily’s paternal grandmother, Helen Virginia Horton, on the 1930 U.S. Census –

Lily’s paternal great-grandfather, Walter Clark Horton, on the 1900 U.S. Census –

Obituary of Lily’s maternal grandfather, William Eric Mantle –

with some credit to genealogists George Larson and Michael J. Wood

9 Responses

  1. litzfranco says:

    Why does this website count Scotland as an independent country? Actually two of her grandparents were born in the United Kingdom, so the last passage is not true

    • follers says:

      I’ve debated with myself over this, but I erred on the side of including it; Scotland is considered a “country within the United Kingdom.”

      • Oaken05 says:

        I’m not sure what’s to debate, honestly. This isn’t a website primarily about nationalities, but ethnicities. The Scots are clearly an ethnicity within the UK, just like any other.

  2. Holly12 says:

    Ethni/Follers is it possible you could do more research on Lily’s ancestry, it would be interesting to know. Especially with her grandmother being American born. Thank-you. :)

  3. ashash says:


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