For fans of HBO’s Game of Thrones, the prospect of a king and queen being related is no big deal. After all, the Targaryens are renowned for it and the Lannisters also like to dabble within their own family. However, when it comes to the real world, it is shocking to think that, in this day and age, family members marrying each other within the royal family actually occurs.
However, as Reader’s Digest points out, historically-speaking, when it comes to marriage within the royal family, it “wasn’t so much about love as it was about strengthening alliances for political gain, which could be achieved most conveniently through marriages arranged between members of European dynasties.”
As a result of these alliances between royal powerhouses, there are some pretty close family connections now as well.
And, thanks to all the inbreeding, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip are not only cousins, but are so through more than one line of descent.
As Reader’s Digest explains, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip are both the great-great-grandchildren of Queen Victoria, who ruled from 1837 until her death in 1876. Queen Elizabeth descends from Queen Victoria’s second son, King Edward VII. Philip, on the other hand, while born Prince Philip of Denmark and Greece, actually descended from Queen Victoria’s third child, Princess Alice. This makes Elizabeth and Philip third cousins.
The couple is also related through King Christian IX of Denmark. Christian IX was the great-great-grandfather of Queen Elizabeth II and also Prince Philip’s paternal great-grandfather. As a result of this connection, Elizabeth and Philip are also considered second cousins once removed.
And, for those of you who want to learn more about the royal family and how they are related to each other, as Business Insider points out, there is now an online tool that Expedia developed showing how the English royal family is related to the Scandinavian royal families.
Sandra Pearson, from Expedia, also explained to Business Insider that marriage within the royal family was considered a requirement for many centuries.
“In many countries, you would lose your right to the throne if you married a commoner. Hence, your choice was very limited, and you most probably would be related.”
In addition to marrying inside the royal family, some royal members even “inherited” their spouses. For example, Mary of Teck was originally engaged to Prince Albert. However, when Albert died shortly before their wedding, his younger brother, George V, was then obligated to step in and marry Mary instead.
Nowadays, though, the royals are allowed more freedom when it comes to marriage and that is why we have seen the likes of Prince Harry, who is sixth in line to the throne, marry Meghan Markle, a commoner.