However, despite giving dozens of interviews, he has never previously disclosed quite how illustrious his background is.
Why? Well, Cumberbatch is rather touchy about the subject of class. He told the Radio Times in August that he was fed up with ‘all the posh-bashing that goes on … It’s all so predictable. So domestic, so dumb. It makes me think I want to go to America.’
He continued, with some energy: ‘I wasn’t born into land or titles, or new money, or an oil rig.’
Fair enough. But while his family isn’t exactly rolling in it, the Cumberbatches have long been extremely eminent in society circles — so much so that The Times newspaper extensively covered the 1934 wedding of his grandfather, Henry Carlton Cumberbatch, a submarine commander who was decorated in both World Wars.
Unusually, The Times illustrated the piece with a picture as well as a full description of the bride’s dress, flowers and headdress and a comprehensive list of the guests.
Henry Carlton Cumberbatch, by the way, was also described as a noted crack shot with a rifle, an exceptional rower and a ‘strong’ tennis player. His manly charm was noted by fellow officers.
Perhaps Benedict, who favours extreme sports such as paragliding and skydiving, gets some of his physical derring-do from that side of the family.
I can also reveal that his great-grandfather, Henry Alfred Cumberbatch, was the British Consul General in Smyrna, Turkey, and ruffled feathers with his protests against the slave trade in the area at the time.
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