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Wednesday, November 4, 1998 Published at 19:34 GMT


Charles visits 'relative' Dracula's home

The castle where Vlad the Impaler lived

Prince Charles visited myth-steeped Transylvania - amid suggestions that the blood-drinking Dracula may be among his forebears.

The BBC's Sue Saville: "Prince Charles is aware that he is said to be related"
The Prince - on a tour of eastern Europe - spent a day in the heart of the region in Romania, where the Dracula legend was born.

There he visited an old people's home in Sibiu, where he was presented with a book of poems written by one of the residents, and a school.

[ image: Prince Charles is aware of the link]
Prince Charles is aware of the link
The Prince was then driven 40 miles through the Transylvanian countryside to visit a Saxon village at Mosna.

Prince Charles is apparently aware of the potential relationship between his family and Transylvania's most infamous son.

The BBC's Andrew Bomford reports on the Prince's unlikely relative
It is believed that Queen Mary, consort of George V was related to the 15th Century slayer prince Vlad the Impaler who inspired Bram Stoker's Dracula.

And it is known that porphyria, an iron deficiency, which is thought to lie behind the vampire myth, has run in the Royal Family.

[ image: Thousands of visitors come to see Transylvania every year]
Thousands of visitors come to see Transylvania every year
Vlad Drac-ula, as he was known, is said to have dispatched with more than 100,000 Turkish warriors in battle.

The vampire legend was fed by Vlad's own predilection for eating bread dipped in his victim's blood.

But it wasn't until an author of the Victorian period, Bram Stoker, became interested in the myth of Vlad the Impaler, that Count Dracula was born.

Dracula means "son of the devil" in Romanian.

[ image: Bram Stoker reinvented Vlad]
Bram Stoker reinvented Vlad
Now thousands of tourists visit the Transylvanian town every year where Vlad lived in Castle Bran.

Prince Charles arrived in Romania on Tuesday

On Thursday, he will visit several charities caring for the elderly and homeless in Bucharest, and he will watch a pantomime at the city's National Theatre.

He is due to leave for Sofia, in Bulgaria, on Friday. The tour also includes the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

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