How Was Queen Victoria Related to Prince Albert?

They Were Cousins, But How?

Marriage of Queen Victoria from Pictures of English History, 1850
Hulton Archive/The Print Collector/Print Collector/Getty Images

The British Royal couple Prince Albert and Queen Victoria were first cousins. They shared one set of grandparents. They were also third cousins once removed. Here are the details:

Queen Victoria’s Ancestry

Queen Victoria was the only child of these royal parents:

  • Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld (Marie Luise Victoire, Aug. 17, 1786–March 16, 1861)
  • Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn (Edward Augustus, Nov. 2, 1767–Jan. 23, 1820, fourth son of King George III of the United Kingdom)

Princess Charlotte, the only legitimate grandchild of George III, died in November of 1817, leaving behind a widower, Prince Leopold of Belgium. So that George III would have a direct heir, the unmarried sons of George III responded to Charlotte's death by finding wives and attempting to father children. In 1818, Prince Edward, 50 years old and the fourth son of King George III, married the Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, 31, the sister of Princess Charlotte’s widower.

When Victoria, a widow, married Edward, she already had two children, Carl and Anna, from her first marriage.

Edward and Victoria had only one child, the future Queen Victoria, before his death in 1820.

Prince Albert’s Ancestry

Prince Albert was the second son of

  • Princess Louise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg (Louise Dorothea Pauline Charlotte Fredericka Auguste, Dec. 21, 1800–Aug. 30, 1831)
  • Ernst I, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (Ernst Anton Karl Ludwig Herzog, also Ernst III of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, Jan. 2, 1784–Jan. 29, 1844)

Ernst and Louise were married in 1817, separated in 1824 and divorced in 1826. Louise and Ernst both remarried; the children stayed with their father and Louise lost all rights to her children because of her second marriage. She died a few years later of cancer. Ernst remarried in 1832 and had no children by that marriage. He also acknowledged three illegitimate children.

Common Grandparents

Queen Victoria’s mother, Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, and Prince Albert’s father, Duke Ernst I of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, were brother and sister. Their parents were:

  • Countess (Princess) Augusta Caroline Sophie Reuss of Ebersdorf (Jan. 19, 1757–Nov. 16, 1831)
  • Francis, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld (Franz Frederick Anton, July 15, 1750–Dec. 9, 1806)

Augusta and Francis had ten children, three of whom died in childhood. Ernst, Prince Albert's father, was the eldest son. Victoria, Queen Victoria's mother, was younger than Ernst.

Another Connection

Prince Albert's parents, Louise and Ernst, were second cousins once removed. Ernst's great-grandparents were also the great-grandparents of his wife's mother.

Because Ernst was a brother of Queen Victoria's mother, these were also the great-grandparents of Queen Victoria's mother, making Queen Victoria's mother a second cousin once removed of her sister-in-law, Prince Albert's mother Louise.

  • Princess Anna Sophie of Schwartzburg-Rudolstadt (Sept. 9, 1700–Dec. 11, 1780)
  • Prince Franz Josias of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld (Sept. 25, 1697–Sept. 16, 1764)

Anna Sophie and Franz Josias had eight children.

  • Their eldest, Ernst, was a great-grandfather of both Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, and also the great-grandfather of Leopold II of Belgium and Carlota of Mexico.
  • Their fifth child, Princess Charlotte Sophie of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, was a great-greataunt of both Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, and also Albert's great-great-grandmother.

Through this relationship, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were also third cousins once removed. Given the intermarriages in royal and noble families, they had other more distant relationships as well.

Uncle Leopold

The youngest brother of Prince Albert's father and Queen Victoria's mother was:

  • Leopold I, King of the Belgians (Leopold Georg Christian Frederick, Dec. 16, 1790–Dec. 10, 1865)

Leopold was, therefore, Queen Victoria’s maternal uncle and Prince Albert’s paternal uncle.

Leopold had been married to Princess Charlotte of Wales, the only legitimate daughter of the future George IV and his heiress presumptive until she died in 1817, predeceasing both her father and her grandfather, George III.

Leopold was an important influence on Victoria before her coronation and for some time after. He was elected King of the Belgians in 1831.