The great royal families of the world have traditionally made strategic marriages and alliances in order to strengthen their sovereign claims and boost their political might.
These marriages have led to a fascinating collection of royal family trees that have some curious and intriguing connections.
Here are some of a few fascinating facts from the British Royal Family Tree.
Interesting Facts From The British Royal Family Tree
• Both Queen Elizabeth II & Prince Philip, Duke Of Edinburgh, Were Descended From Queen Victoria
The late Queen Elizabeth II was known for her record-breaking reign as the sovereign of Great Britain. Almost as impressive as her seventy-year reign was her 73-year marriage to her husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
The couple were married in 1947, after a long and devoted courtship, but the couple met for the first time, many years before, when the future Queen of England was just 8 years old.
The reason that the couple moved in the same social circles was partly due to their shared heritage.
Prince Philip’s mother was Princess Alice of Battenberg. Her mother (Prince Philip’s grandmother) was Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine, one of the famous Hesse Princesses, known as The Four Graces.
And her mother (Prince Philip’s great-grandmother), was Princess Alice of the United Kingdom – the third child of Queen Victoria.
As a result of this family lineage, Prince Philip was a direct descendant of Queen Victoria. He was her great-great-grandson.
Queen Elizabeth II, or Princess Elizabeth as she was before her marriage to Prince Philip, was the daughter of George VI who famously stepped up as King of England when his brother Edward abdicated the throne in 1936.
The father of both kings (Queen Elizabeth’s grandfather) was King George V, and his father – King Edward VII (nicknamed Bertie, after his father) was the eldest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.
So, Queen Elizabeth II was also a great-great-grandchild of Queen Victoria, making the couple third cousins.
This interesting fact from the British Royal Family Tree is often surprising to many modern minds. Yet the history of royals and their marriage partners reveals a great number of alliances that saw one cousin (or second cousin) wed to another.
In centuries past, the various royal dynasties of Europe would often orchestrate marriages between the families, resulting in cousins and distant relatives being joined in holy matrimony. Not only was this accepted as a normal occurrence, it was a shrewd way to keep the power and regal lineage within a close family group.
It may have been acceptable in the past because royal individuals were often raised many miles from their more distant relatives, sometimes they would live in a completely different country for their entire childhoods. This meant that a couple could be related as cousins but may have never met, or at least, did not share a common childhood or social circle when growing up.
• A Double Royal Connection
What’s curious about the link between Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip is that they were connected as distant cousins in two ways. The above family tree reveals their joint connection to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert – their shared great-great-great-grandparents. Yet there is another link in their family trees.
Prince Philip was a prince in his own right, before he met his future wife who would become the Queen of England. Philip’s father was Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark. While Philip’s mother was the link to the Hesse sisters and back to Queen Victoria, his father was a link to another royal family tree.
Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark was the son of George I of Denmark (Prince Philip’s grandfather), who himself was the son of Christian IX, King of Denmark.
It may seem unlikely that the 19th-century King of Denmark would be connected to the British Royal Family, but there is a connection courtesy of the wife of the British King, Edward VII, also known as Bertie.
Bertie’s wife was Alexandra of Denmark – the daughter of King Christian IX. Since King Edward VIII and his wife Alexandra of Denmark were the great-grandparents of Queen Elizabeth II, the late queen was once again connected to her husband, Prince Philip, through their fascinating family tree.
While this double connection is perhaps one of the most interesting stories of the interconnected lineage of modern royals, there’s another little-known yet intriguing fact from the British Royal Family Tree.
• How Princess Diana Was Related To Winston Churchill
Before she married her prince and became the famous Princess of Wales, Princess Diana was known to the world as Lady Diana Spencer. The Spencer Family has long been an established and respected aristocratic lineage within the British nobility.
What many people may not know is that the Spencer Family is a branch of the Spencer-Churchill family lineage – the great noble line established by the famous Duke of Marlborough, General John Churchill.
The name Churchill may be more familiar to modern minds in relation to the great World War II Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill, and he was the grandson of the 7th Duke of Marlborough, John Spencer-Churchill.
So Winston Churchill and Princess Diana are both descended from the Dukes of Marlborough and connected via the Spencer-Churchill family line. The two families were joined in the 17th century when Lady Anne Churchill (daughter of the 1st Duke of Marlborough) married Charles Spencer, 3rd Earl of Sunderland, making the two famous Brits distant cousins.
It’s a popular theme in celebrity magazines and websites to reveal how pop stars and famous names are related to royalty. With just a little exploration into the royal family tree, it’s easy to see how these curious connections can naturally come about.
After all, royal families have historically been quite large, with many siblings and cousins and distant relations who could go on to establish their own family lines in a whole range of social spheres.
In fact, these links to royalty may be more common than many people would believe, and so for a lucky few, there may well be some regal connections and blue blood lineage in their family line, if they trace their ancestry back far enough.