How Are Queen Elizabeth II and Her Husband Prince Philip Related?

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Lewis, Jone Johnson. "How Are Queen Elizabeth II and Her Husband Prince Philip Related?" ThoughtCo, Sep. 20, 2017, thoughtco.com/queen-elizabeth-ii-and-prince-philip-3530296. Lewis, Jone Johnson. (2017, September 20). How Are Queen Elizabeth II and Her Husband Prince Philip Related? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/queen-elizabeth-ii-and-prince-philip-3530296 Lewis, Jone Johnson. "How Are Queen Elizabeth II and Her Husband Prince Philip Related?" ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/queen-elizabeth-ii-and-prince-philip-3530296 (accessed September 22, 2017).
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip
Anwar Hussein / WireImage

Like many royal couples, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip are distantly related through their regal forebears. Although the practice of marrying relatives to preserve royal bloodlines is now uncommon, it was considered traditional when Britain's longest-reigning queen was born. Here's how Elizabeth and Philip are related.

The Royal Couple

When Elizabeth and Philip were both born, it seemed unlikely that they would one day become the most prominent royal couple in modern history.

Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, born in London on April 21, 1926, was third in line for the throne behind both her father and his older brother. Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark didn't even have a country to call home. He and the royal family of Greece were exiled from that nation shortly after his birth in Corfu on June 10, 1921, never to rule again.

Elizabeth and Philip met several times as children, and they became romantically involved as young adults while Philip was serving in the British Navy during World War II. The couple announced their engagement in June 1947, but not before Philip renounced his royal title, converted from Greek Orthodoxy to Anglicanism, and became a British citizen.

He also changed his surname from Battenburg to Mountbatten, reflecting his British heritage on his mother's side. Philip was granted the title of Duke of Edinburgh and the style of His Royal Highness on his marriage, by his new father-in-law, George VI.

Queen Victoria

Elizabeth and Philip are third cousins through Queen Victoria of Britain, who ruled from 1837 to 1901; she was their great-great-grandmother.

  • Philip's mother was Princess Alice of Battenburg (1885 - 1969) who was born at Windsor Castle. Princess Alice's husband was Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark (1882 - 1944).
  • Princess Alice's mother was Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine (1863 - 1950). Princess Victoria was married to Prince Louis of Battenberg (1854 - 1921).
  • Princess Victoria of Hesse and by the Rhine was the daughter of Princess Alice of the United Kingdom (1843 - 1878).
  • Princess Alice's mother was Queen Victoria (1819 - 1901). She married Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1819 - 1861) in 1840.

Elizabeth's relationship is more direct:

  • Elizabeth's father was George VI (1895 - 1952). He married Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (1900 - 2002) in 1925.
  • George VI's father was George V (1865 - 1936). He married Mary of Teck (1867 - 1953) in 1893, a German princess raised in England.
  • George V's father was Edward VII (1841 - 1910). He married Alexandra of Denmark (1844 - 1925), a Danish princess.
  • Edward VII's mother was Queen Victoria (1819 - 1901). She married Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1819 - 1861) in 1840.

King Christian IX of Denmark

Elizabeth and Philip are also second cousins, once removed, through King Christian IX of Denmark, who ruled from 1863 to 1906. 

  • Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark was Philip's father. He was married to Princess Alice of Battenburg, listed above.
  • George I of Greece (1845 - 1913) was Prince Andrew's father. He married Olga Constantinova of Russia (1851 - 1926) in 1867.
  • Christian IX of Denmark (1818 - 1906) was George I's father. He married Louise of Hesse-Kassel (1817 - 1898) in 1842.

Queen Elizabeth's connection to Christian IX comes through her paternal grandfather, George V, whose mother was Alexandra of Denmark. Alexandra's father was King Christian IX. 

More Royal Relations

Queen Victoria was related to her husband, Prince Albert, as first cousins and also third cousins once removed. They had a very fertile family tree, and many of their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren married into other royal families of Europe.

Britain's King Henry VIII (1491 - 1547) was married six times. All six of his wives could claim descent through Henry's ancestor, Edward I (1239 - 1307). Two of his wives were royal and the other four were from the English nobility.

Queen Henry VIII is Elizabeth II's first cousin, 14 times removed.

In the Habsburg royal family, intermarriage among close relatives was very common. Philip II of Spain (1572 - 1598), for instance, was married four times; three of his wives were related closely to him by blood. The family tree of Sebastian of Portugal (1544 - 1578) illustrates how intermarried the Habsburgs were: he had only four great-grandparents instead of the usual eight. Manuel I of Portugal (1469 - 1521) married women who were related to each other; their descendants then intermarried.