His Royal Majesty the Duke of Bavaria:
Hey! My name is King Gian Guiseppe di Parma and I’m the ruler of the Kingdom of Milan. Don’t worry if you don’t remember where that is. We aren’t the biggest or fanciest kingdom around. Boy, this is an awkward letter to write, so I’m just going to come out and ask it: are we related? I feel like we are related somehow.
Did I see you at the birthday luncheon for the Duke Regent of Naples? I think you were there with your wife, and my wife said me and you could be brothers. At first I thought she wanted to sleep with you and was looking for an excuse, but then I looked again and I could kind of see the resemblance. Then again, I wasn’t attracted at all to your wife, which I guess means she could be related to me.
Anyways, the point is, I’m pretty sure we’re practically brothers or in-laws or something. So I was wondering if maybe you could lend us some money. We’ve lost a bunch of it battling the Kingdom of Avignon for some field somewhere and I need a little quick cash to pull through. Since we’re basically twins, maybe you could lend it?
His Royal Highness King Gian Guiseppe di Parma (Gigi)
It’s important to remember that letters are tools: they can be used for good and they can be used to scam people by pretending to be their relatives. This is of course a case of the latter, and King Gigi convinced the Duke of Bavaria that they might be related without a problem, using the old “we look similar” hustle. Unfortunately for King Gigi, in Bavaria, being family means helping out in a move, and Gigi threw out his back later that winter lugging a table up the Duke’s stairs.
Today, in the age of DNA testing and cheapness, it’s harder than ever to convince people to give you money for being related to them. As a result, people have begun forging DNA test result letters as seen in this example from 2002:
Dear Mr. Albert Goldenberg,
Or should we call you “Dad”? That’s right! The little squiggles on your DNA test match up to the little squiggles on Archie’s DNA test. And while we know we’re just scientists, we think you owe him a LOT and we’re pretty sure he can be bought.
Then all one has to do is slap on an official looking crest, and even the best letter historian won’t be able to tell the difference.