Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip: How Are They Related?

Besides Being Husband and Wife

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip
Anwar Hussein / WireImage

Question: How are Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip related?

Are Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II cousins? How are they related? Besides being husband and wife, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip share ancestry. Who are those latest common ancestors?

Answer: Elizabeth and Philip are both descended from Christian IX of Denmark and from Queen Victoria.

Philip was born Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark.

He gave up the title of Prince when he became a British citizen and converted from Greek Orthodoxy to Anglicanism. His family name was Battenburg, which became Mountbatten. He 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.

Philip to Queen Victoria

  1. Philip's mother was Princess Alice of Battenburg who was born at Windsor Castle. She was congenitally deaf and in 1930 diagnosed with schizophrenia. Princess Alice's husband, mentioned below, was Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark.
  2. Princess Alice's mother was Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine, Philip's maternal grandmother. Princess Victoria was married to Prince Louis of Battenberg.
  3. Princess Victoria of Hesse and by the Rhine was the daughter of Princess Alice of the United Kingdom, Philip's great grandmother.
  4. Princess Alice's mother was Queen Victoria, Philip's great great grandmother.

    Elizabeth to Queen Victoria

    1. Elizabeth's father was George VI.
    2. George VI's father was George V, Elizabeth's grandfather.
    3. George V's father was Edward VII, Elizabeth's great grandfather.
    4. Edward VII's mother was Queen Victoria, Elizabeth's great great grandmother.

    Answer 1

    Thus Philip and Elizabeth are third cousins through this relationship, Philip descended from Victoria's daughter Alice and Elizabeth from Victoria's son Edward VII.

    But wait -- there's more!

    Elizabeth to Christian IX of Denmark

    1. Elizabeth's father was George VI.
    2. George VI's father was George V, Elizabeth's grandfather.
    3. George V's mother was Alexandra of Denmark, Elizabeth's great grandmother.
    4. Alexandra of Denmark's father was Christian IX of Denmark, Elizabeth's great great grandfather.

    Philip to Christian IX of Denmark

    1. Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark was Philip's father, married to Princess Alice of Battenburg, listed above.
    2. George I of Greece was Prince Andrew's father and Philip's grandfather.
    3. Christian IX of Denmark was George I's father, and Philip's great grandfather.

    Answer 2

    Thus Philip and Elizabeth are second cousins once removed through this relationship. Alexandra of Denmark and George I of Greece were siblings.

    Background

    Members of the royalty, and especially those who are expected to rule, usually have married other members of royal families.  Because royal families are, almost by definition, a very small percentage of the population, the chances of marrying a relative are greatly increased.  Even if you add members of the nobility as eligible marriage partners, the available spouses are likely to have some common ancestors.

    Queen Victoria was related to her husband, Prince Albert, as first cousins and also third cousins once removed.

     Both Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip, are descended from Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, as detailed above.  Queen Victoria and Prince Albert had a very fertile family tree, and many of their children, grandchilden, great-grandchildren -- and now even more generations -- married with other royal houses of Europe. It would have been difficult to find many royal families, by the time Elizabeth as a princess expected to inherit the throne, was looking for a husband.

    Henry VIII, an ancestor of Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, was married six times.  All six of his wives could claim descent through Henry's ancestor, Edward I.  Two of his wives were royal and the other four were from the English nobility.

    In the Habsburg royal family, intermarriage among close relatives -- double first cousins, uncles with their nieces, for example -- was very common.

     Philip II of Spain, for instance, was married four times; three of his wives were related closely to him by blood.  The family tree of Sebastian of Portugal illustrates how intermarried the Habsburgs were: he had only four great-grandparents instead of the usual eight if there are no common ones, and he had only six great-great-grandparents instead of the usual 16.  Manuel I of Portugal married women who were related to each otherr; their descendants then intermarried.

    More recently, many members of royal families -- including those expecting to inherit rulership -- have married partners who are not part of royalty or even the nobility.