Keira Knightley

Knightley in 2011, photo by Featureflash /

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 known for her films Pirates of the Caribbean, Love Actually, King Arthur (2004), Domino, Pride & Prejudice, Never Let Me Go, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, Anna Karenina (2012), The Imitation Game, and Silent Night (2021), and television’s Doctor Zhivago (2002), among other works.

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 two children.

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 Knightley (the son of Frederick William Knightley and Caroline Margaret Pepper). Keira’s grandfather William was born in West Ham, Essex, England. 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 –

Marriage record of Keira’s paternal grandparents, William Knightley and Violet Grace Jones –

Death record of Keira’s paternal grandmother, Violet Grace (Jones) Knightley –

Article about Keira’s mother’s family –


Curious about ethnicity

81 Responses

  1. andrew says:

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

  2. athelya says:

    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

  3. stonelord says:

    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 says:

      You said you were Irish before.

    • ses101 says:

      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.

  4. undashing says:

    Yes, she looks like a typical British girl.

    • Capricious says:

      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.

      • Capricious says:

        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.

        • Yesterday says:

          I wouldn’t argue that. Don’t drag me into your ridiculousness.

          Cole looks completely British. Dying her hair and having a fake tan doesn’t make her exotic.

          This place is ridiculous.

        • Yesterday says:

          I wouldn’t argue that. Don’t drag me into your ridiculousness.

          Dying her hair and having a fake tan doesn’t make her exotic.

          This place is ridiculous.

  5. The Beautiful Ones says:


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