Should the\u00a0BBC\u00a0ever get round to a royal edition of Who Do You Think You Are? they would need an entire series just to cover the more exotic ancestry of the\u00a0Queen.\r\nBesides all her regal ancestors whom we learn about at school, she is also a descendant of, among others, Vlad the Impaler, Robert the Bruce (twice over), Alfred the Great, a\u00a0London\u00a0plumber called John Walsh, a Bedfordshire clergyman and, wait for it, the Prophet Muhammad.\r\nFor the big news across the Muslim world this month is the \u2018fact\u2019 that the Queen not only has Islamic ancestors, but is directly descended from the founder of Islam himself. Reports and detailed family trees began circulating in respectable Moroccan newspapers some days ago, since when they have spread to the Middle East and beyond.\r\nThere has been a broadly positive reaction to the claim that the Queen is a direct descendant of the founding father of Islam via Edward IV, Pedro the Cruel of Castile and a Spanish princess called Zaida.\r\n\u00a0\r\nIf this is confirmed, some Islamic scholars have even suggested that an extra title should be conferred on the Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England. New honorifics suggested so far include \u2018amir al-mumineen\u2019 (leader of the faithful) and \u2018sayyida\u2019 (literally, a \u2018commander\u2019 descended from the Prophet\u2019s daughter Fatimah).\r\nOther responses have been less deferential, with one Arab blogger asking whether the national anthem might become \u2018Allah Save The Queen\u2019.\r\nThis news suggests the Prince of Wales was very prescient when he professed an aspiration to be crowned as a multi-denominational \u2018defender of faith\u2019 come his coronation. He has spent a quarter of a century promoting greater understanding between Islam and the West and established his own Oxford School of Islamic Studies.\r\nSo how strong are the claims? As it turns out, they are not without foundation.\r\nLast month, a Moroccan newspaper called Al-Ousboue claimed it had traced the Queen\u2019s ancestry back 43 generations, starting with all the usual Hanoverians, Georgians, Stuarts and Tudors.\r\nThe leap from school history books and up the Islamic route starts with Richard, Earl of Cambridge, the grandfather of Edward IV. His mother was Isabel of Castile, daughter of Pedro the Cruel, king of Castile. If we follow that line back through assorted kings of Castile and Portugal, we come to Alfonso VI, also known as Alfonso the Valiant, of Castile \u2014 who was born in 1072, just six years after William the Conqueror was turning England upside down.\r\nAlfonso\u2019s wife, and the mother of three of his children, was Zaida. She was apparently a Muslim princess who fled the collapsing regime of her father Mohammet II, king of Seville. She sought refuge at Alfonso\u2019s court, became his mistress and converted to Christianity when she married him.\r\nIt is from her, so it\u2019s said, that the line goes all the way back to the Prophet Muhammad via her father. That is because Islamic scholars can connect Mohammet II (also known as Al-Mu\u2019tamid ibn Abbad), king of Seville, directly to the Prophet via his grandfather Al-Qasim, King of Seville, and straight back to Muhammad\u2019s daughter Fatimah.\r\nGot all that? It makes the feuds of the Plantagenets seem positively straightforward in comparison.\r\nAccording to the author of last month\u2019s original Moroccan report, Abdelhamid Al-Aouni, the Queen\u2019s link to the Prophet has been verified by one of the most senior scholars in the mainstream Islamic world, Ali Gomaa, the former Grand Mufti of Egypt.\r\nThe theory was also propounded more than 30 years ago by the late Harold Brooks-Baker, the eccentric ancestor-worshipping editor of Burke\u2019s Peerage. He even wrote to then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher recommending extra security for the Queen because of her newfound Islamic connections. Not for the first time, the Palace thought he was off his trolley.\r\nHowever, Mr Al-Aouni is standing by his story and believes it comes at a fortuitous moment. \u2018It builds a bridge between our two religions and kingdoms,\u2019 he says.\r\nBuckingham Palace has no comment to make on the matter. But royal officials cannot entirely pooh-pooh the reports, as the Palace\u2019s very own reference book confirms the link between the Queen and Zaida. The Royal Encyclopaedia, edited by the Queen\u2019s former press secretary Ronald Allison, is accepted as received wisdom within the Royal Household.\r\nAt the back, Appendix 2 contains lists of \u2018The Queen\u2019s Antecedents\u2019. One traces the Queen\u2019s ancestry over more than a millennium back via kings of France and a Ukrainian saint to Rurik, Grand Prince of Novgorod, 9th-century founder of the Russian monarchy.\r\nThe other line follows the direct lineal connection from the Queen to Edward IV, various Iberian monarchs and all the way back to Zaida. So the strength of the Queen\u2019s connection to the Prophet all depends on this mysterious Muslim princess.\r\nSome scholars say Zaida was not the daughter, but the daughter-in-law, of Mohammet II, in which case she was not a direct descendant of the Prophet. Others say she was not the mother of Urraca, Queen of Castile, who succeeded Zaida\u2019s husband, Alfonso VI. In which case the link to the Queen is not clear.\r\n\u2018We will never really know,\u2019 says the distinguished historian Hugh Kennedy, Professor of Arabic at the London School of Oriental and African Studies. \u2018It is conceivable but improbable that the Queen descends from Zaida, let alone from the Prophet.\u2019\r\nHowever, he is confident that the Queen has some very illustrious Muslim blood, pointing out that her lineal ancestor is Caliph Haroun al-Rashid, the great ruler who would become a central figure in classic Eastern tales including the Arabian Nights and Sinbad.\r\nHis descendants married into the Bagratid kings of Georgia, from whom the Queen is directly descended on her Russian side.\r\nAll this focus on the Royal Family\u2019s Muslim antecedents is certainly timely ahead of next week\u2019s Commonwealth summit in London. For the Queen is Head of the Commonwealth and its principal religion is not Christianity but Islam, since it includes some of the world\u2019s most populous Muslim nations including Pakistan, Bangladesh and Malaysia.\r\nOver the years, historians and genealogists have enjoyed unearthing unexpected royal ancestry. Thanks to the Queen Mother, for example, the Queen is the most Scottish monarch since James I and VI (and also descended from John Walsh, a London plumber whose granddaughter married the 11th Earl of Strathmore, the great-great-great-grandfather of the Queen).\r\nAnd the Duke of Edinburgh has some equally interesting lineage. His maternal uncle, Lord Mountbatten, not only claimed that the family were descended from the Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne, but had a personal theory that he was connected to the Native American princess Pocahontas.\r\nGiven that the Duke is also a direct descendant of Queen Victoria, and thus of Edward IV, he can claim the same direct descent from the Prophet, too.\r\nWe can safely say that St George\u2019s Chapel, Windsor is not about to be converted into a mosque. Nor will the Queen be making a 3pm broadcast at the end of Ramadan.\r\nEven so, after all those years of regally asking members of the public whether they have come far, it might make a nice change for her to say \u2018As-salamu alaykum\u2019 (peace be upon you).