It's certainly been an interesting year for the British royal family, and the events of 2021 so far should be (and might be?) heavily documented on The Crown. After Harry and Meghan's Oprah interview rocked the world, a rumor started that Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip are cousins. Are they? Let's dive into the history of the British royal family.
Are Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip cousins?
The British Royal family has a long and tangled lineage, so let's try and sort it through. The Independent has broken down some of the most important twists and turns of the Royal family, including where Queen Elizabeth and Philip's royal lineages intersect.
Both Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip are distantly related to Queen Victoria, which means, technically, they are cousins. Queen Elizabeth is related to Queen Victoria through her father's side because Queen Victoria's second-eldest son — George — is Queen Elizabeth's grandfather.
The Independent notes, "[George's] reign lasted until his death 1936, when his son George VI became king. Elizabeth then ascended the throne on Feb. 6, 1952 following the death of her father. In October 2016, she became Britain's longest-reigning monarch."
Queen Victoria is thus Queen Elizabeth's great-great-grandmother. On the other hand, Prince Philip is related to Queen Victoria via his mother's side.
Queen Victoria's second daughter, Princess Alice, married Ludwig IV, the Grand Duke of Hesse (Hesse was western Germany), and, together, they had seven children. Alice's first child, named Victoria for her mother, married her father's first cousin, Prince Louis of Battenberg. Princess Alice of Battenberg (named for her mother) was Prince Philip's mother, and she was closely linked with the British royal family.
Prince Philip's mother Alice eventually married Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark, and Prince Philip was the youngest of their five children.
If you're keeping track, this makes Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth third cousins. While not desirable by any means, thankfully, inbreeding isn't part of British royal culture anymore, so it could have been far worse than just cousins.
In many countries, marrying a relative, even a distant one, was preferable to marrying a commoner — but thankfully, the marriage requirements for royalty have relaxed, as made clear by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Even Prince William and Kate weren't exactly royal equals when they met.
For those concerned about Prince Philip's health, never fear.
Prince Philip was recently admitted to a London hospital in late February 2021 as a precautionary measure, which began to worry people that his age was finally getting to him. Prince Philip at 99 is no spring chicken, but he was released with a clean bill of health on Mar. 17, 2021. All of the statements from the palace assured the public that Prince Philip was in no real danger, they were just taking precautions.
It sounds like things are as back to normal as they can be for the British royal family, although they have a lot of discussions to tackle in the wake of Harry and Meghan's Oprah Interview. Fans of the family can only hope they reconcile with one another in the near future.