Actress Emma Watson, who plays an exceptionally talented witch and the best friend of Harry Potter in the blockbuster Harry Potter series, has a real-life connection to her role as Hermione. According to the family history research experts, English records show Watson’s distant relative was Joan Playle of Essex County, England, a 16th-century English woman convicted of witchcraft in 1592.
While the details around Playle’s conviction remain a mystery, records indicate she was unmarried, which could have led to the accusation of being a witch. During the Elizabethan era, women who were poor, old, widowed, single or otherwise unprotected were those most often at risk for such accusations. Based on the research, it appears Playle was not executed for her alleged crimes, but she was excommunicated from the Church of England and was one of only 270 known individuals accused of and tried for witchcraft in all of England during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.
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