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Fern Britton reveals her grandmother had a 'secret child' she hid from the family

The family discovery inspired Fern's new novel

fern britton itv studios
Chloe Best
Lifestyle Features Editor
4 June 2020
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Fern Britton has revealed that her grandmother had another child that she kept a secret from her family for decades. The former This Morning presenter only made the discovery when she started her television career at the age of 23, after she was contacted out of the blue by a man who claimed he was her mum's half-brother.

Speaking to Good Housekeeping magazine, the 62-year-old explained: "I had started in TV, working in Plymouth, when I received a letter from a man who had seen me on screen, asking if I was Ruth Britton's daughter. When I wrote back to say that I was, he replied saying 'I know this sounds extraordinary, but I think I am your mother's half-brother'."

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Fern Britton book awards© Photo: Getty Images

Fern Britton has revealed her grandmother had a secret child

Fern soon discovered that her late grandmother, Beryl, had given birth to a baby boy out of wedlock before the First World War, and he had spent years searching for her. The TV presenter added: "In secret, Beryl had arranged a private fostering for him and continued to see him, love him, and send whatever money she could spare for his keep. It must have been very difficult, because by then she had married my grandfather, Gerald, and went on to have three children."

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Once Fern had processed the huge news, she said she struggled to find the right moment to find her mum. However, her mum admitted she wasn't surprised by the revelation, as when Beryl was dying she had told her daughter that she had "done wicked things" in her lifetime.

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"It seemed awful to find out that she had carried this guilty secret around with her for years," Fern said, revealing that she has even taken inspiration from the family secret for her new book, Daughters of Cornwall, which is about a woman who has a secret child.

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