Yes, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are very distant cousins, according to a genealogical investigation into their individual backgrounds. Though Prince Harry’s family line is very public, as he is a member of the British royal family, Meghan Markle as an American actress enjoyed some level of familial privacy — that is until now. But how does Markle, an actress from California, and Harry, a prince from England, end up on the same family tree? It’s all due to an ancestor of the Queen Mother, Prince Harry’s great-grandmother traced back to the 15th century.
Despite the fact that Prince Harry was raised in Kensington Palace and Markle is obviously American (born in the Los Angeles suburbs), their family lines can be traced through the families of Prince Harry’s great-grandma, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (born in London, but raised largely in Scotland), and Meghan Markle’s father, Thomas Markle. Though Meghan Markle’s family is thought of as “working class,” her Markle ancestry is far more auspicious.
Meghan Markle’s direct ancestor was a man, an Englishman named Ralph Bowes, fifteen generations ago. Ralph Bowes was a High Sheriff of County Durham, and whose family seat was Streatlam Castle. The granddaughter of Ralph Bowes was Bridget Bowes, but the family estate and Streatlam Castle were handed down through Bridget’s uncle and then through a succession of male heirs as was the tradition, so Bridget was not allowed the family inheritance.
Meghan Markle is a direct descendant of Ralph Bowes and his granddaughter, Bridget Bowes. Prince Harry can also trace his family line directly to Ralph Bowes and to another of his grandchildren, a man named Sir George Bowes. So Bridget Bowes and Sir George Bowes were first cousins. But whereas Sir George Bowes’ family remained in the United Kingdom, Bridget Bowes’ grandson, Captain Christopher Hussey, sailed to Massachusetts in the early 1600s and founded Nantucket, Massachusetts. Meghan Markle might want to ask around the family and ask where the Markle family vacation home is located!
In the research, another interesting piece of information turned up in the Markle family direct line. Markle’s German ancestors (where her last name originates) were entitled to their own coat of arms which included a gold feather between two fleur-de-lis on a cornflower blue background. Megan Markle’s family name was originally Merckel, (and later became Markle) and she is a direct descendant of Abraham Merckel (1630-1698) of Alsace (now part of France).
But Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are probably no more related than most Europeans. A genetic survey in 2013 discovered that all current living Europeans are related to “the same set of ancestors who lived 1,000 years ago.”
All of this information came about after a show aired on Channel 4 in the U.K. called When Harry Met Meghan: A Royal Romance. The documentary revealed that Prince Harry had a crush on Meghan Markle for two years before they were introduced. Royal commentator Katie Nicholl was told that Prince Harry first saw Markle on her television show, Suits.
‘She [Harry’s friend] told me she’d been on a night out with Prince Harry. He was single at the time, so she said, “Harry, who’s your ideal girl?” And he said “Meghan Markle from Suits”.’
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And Nicholl also says not to believe anything you might hear about Queen Elizabeth not approving of Prince Harry’s relationship with Meghan Markle because she reports that Queen Elizabeth is very happy for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
“All the Queen wants is for her children and her grandchildren to be happy. If Prince Harry is happy with Meghan [Markle], there is really no concerns on the Queen’s side.”
Are you surprised that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are distant cousins?
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