J.K. Rowling was born in Yate, a town in South Gloucestershire county, which is about 12 miles northeast of Bristol city. Her father, Peter James Rowling was a Rolls Royce Aircraft engineer, and her mother, Anne Rowling (née Volant), was a science technician. Rowling was born two years before her younger sister Dianne, who is considered one of the most important people in J.K. Rowling’s life. Rowling had a very memorable childhood and is said to have developed a very early flair for storytelling and reading.
Parents and Ancestors
Joanne Rowling’s parents Peter James Rowling and Anne Volant are said to have met on a train journey in 1964. The train was departing from the King’s Cross Station in London to Arbroath. While several versions of this story exist, it has been confirmed by Rowling herself that a train was involved. They fell in love and got married.
In 1965, the same year they got married, Anne Rowling delivered a baby named Joanne. Two years later they had another baby, Dianne. Interestingly, both the sisters’ names contained their mother’s name ‘Anne’ in them. Rowling was very close to her parents but was significantly closer to her mother whom she deeply loved. Her mother is said to have been very supportive of Joanne’s interests and hobbies including writing and reading. Both her parents would read stories to her, which might have influenced her further to come up with her own stories at a very early age.
Joanne’s paternal grandmother was Kathleen Rowling, whose name became Rowling’s second name after her publishers suggested that young boys of that time may be hesitant to read a book written by a woman.
Joanne’s great grandfather from her mother’s side was a French soldier named Louis Volant who fought in the First World War. He won the War Cross for protecting the village of Courcelles-Le-Comte. He later married an Englishwoman Eliza Smith in 1900 at Gorleston, Norfolk and the couple settled in London where Louis worked as a waiter at a restaurant. Another maternal great-grandfather of Joanne was Dugald Campbell, a Scottish man from Lamlash, which is a village on the Isle of Arran.
It was also found out later, after extensive research that two of Rowling’s ancestors died tragically in their 30s. William Scott Andrews, who is a distant ancestor of Rowling was a fisherman in Buckinghamshire and he died in 1860, at the age of 32. Another ancestor of Rowling, William Thomas Blay who was a brush maker, died in 1857, aged 39.
First Marriage and Daughter
After her mother Anne’s death in December 1990 from complications of Multiple Sclerosis, Joanne found it very difficult to cope with her loss. Eventually, she found an advertisement in ‘The Guardian‘ about an English teaching position in Porto, Portugal. She moved to Portugal and after 18 months of her arrival there, in 1991, she met a journalist named Jorge Arantes at a bar. They bonded over their common interest in Literature and the author Jane Austen.
They got married on 16 October 1992 and she gave birth to Jessica Isabel Rowling Arantes on 27 July 1993. The couple soon separated and it is said that Rowling underwent domestic violence when she was with Jorge Arantes. She soon came to Scotland with her daughter and had to seek state welfare to support herself and her daughter Jessica.
Sister and Brother in Law
Rowling was assisted by her sister Dianne Rowling and her sister’s husband Roger Moore, who was staying in Edinburgh, Scotland. Roger Moore, who owned the Nicolson’s Café, let Rowling use his café to write her book. It is said that they both played a major role in being the support that Rowling needed during these testing times. Dianne is also the first person Rowling showed the first three chapters of ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone‘ to. Dianne’s positive feedback and support are said to be a major contributor to Joanne finishing her first novel amidst the difficulties like living on welfare and unemployment.
Remarriage and Children
By the time J.K. Rowling had met her future second husband, she had already become a very famous author, and the first Harry Potter movie was in development. Rowling met Neil Murray through a friend and they eventually decided to get married in a private ceremony at her home, Killiechassie House in Scotland on 26 December 2001. It is said only about 15 close relatives and friends were invited to the wedding. Neil Murray is a doctor and is from Scotland.
Their son, David Gordon Rowling Murray was born on 24 March 2003. Rowling was in the process of writing ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince‘ at that time. Their youngest daughter, Mackenzie Jean Rowling Murray was born on 23 January 2005.
How many family members does J.K. Rowling have?
J.K. Rowling stays with her husband Neil Murray whom she married on 26 December 2001, and her three children – Jessica Isabel Rowling Arantes, from her first marriage to Jorge Arantes; David Gordon Rowling Murray, and Mackenzie Jean Rowling Murray. She also has a sister Dianne, affectionately referred to as Di.
Is J.K. Rowling richer than the Queen?
Yes, J.K. Rowling has frequently featured in lists and has placed higher in terms of net worth than the Queen of England several times. Rowling has also been recognized by the Queen for her contributions to Children’s Literature and extensive philanthropy. Rowling has a significant net worth, but has donated to charity on several occasions.
Was J.K. Rowling bullied as a kid?
While there haven’t been any serious instances of physical bullying in Rowling’s childhood that she spoke of, there are instances where she felt bullied by other kids and some teachers in her school. One such instance involves another girl who tried to hurt Rowling in school. However, it is said that Rowling fought back and was later nervous about being attacked.