Why Does the Royal Family Continue to Marry Relatives?

Whereas it is probably not the norm these days, marriage between relations was a typical follow amongst the royals in the previous. And it nonetheless occurs to some extent even right this moment. From King Charles III and Princess Diana to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, right here’s a breakdown of a few of the most well-known associated royal {couples}, together with some perception into why the British royal household continues to marry distant relations. 

Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II | Tim Graham/Getty Photos

The follow of royals marrying inside the household has been round for hundreds of years

Centuries in the past, the follow of marrying shut family members was widespread amongst the royal (and rich) households in Europe, in addition to in different components of the world. It was a method for reigning households to keep energy and defend their dynasties. The follow additionally helped well-to-do households protect their wealth and property.

Right now, the follow is far much less widespread, however the British royal household nonetheless marries distant family members. The explanation for this — no less than up till Queen Elizabeth II’s marriage to Prince Philip — was partly due to custom. However it additionally helped keep the household’s bloodline and maintain the monarchy robust.

Well-known British royal {couples} which might be associated

Over the years, a number of members of the British royal household have married family members. Queen Victoria married her first cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, in accordance to The Royal Family’s official site. The 2 shared the identical grandfather, Francis, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld.

Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip, had been associated as they had been each descendants of Queen Victoria. They had been third cousins via Queen Victoria and shared a great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria’s mom.

The royal couple first met after they had been youngsters and fell in love. Their relationship withstood the take a look at of time and has been considered one of the longest and most profitable marriages in the historical past of the British monarchy. Regardless of being associated, their marriage was not thought-about incestuous, as they had been distant cousins. Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip had been married for 74 years and died inside a 12 months of one another. 

King Charles III and Princess Diana had been additionally distant cousins, sharing a typical ancestor in Henry VII. In accordance to Reader’s Digest, they had been Sixteenth cousins as soon as eliminated and likewise seventh cousins. Regardless of being distant family members, their marriage was thought-about a strategic transfer to keep the royal bloodline and strengthen the monarchy. 

King Charles III can be associated to his present spouse, Camilla Parker Bowles, via their widespread ancestor, Henry Cavendish, 2nd Duke of Newcastle. They’re ninth cousins as soon as eliminated. 

Kate Middleton and Prince William are additionally associated, albeit distantly. They’re 14th cousins, as soon as eliminated, via Sir Thomas Leighton, a Sixteenth-century sheriff of Shropshire. Equally, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are distant cousins, with their widespread ancestor being Ralph Bowes, a Sixteenth-century landowner.

Whereas many fashionable royal {couples} are married to distant family members, it’s not essentially to protect royal bloodlines, however extra of a coincidence that royals are married to their companions as they arrive from related social circles.

Some states in the U.S. limit cousin marriages whereas it’s nonetheless fully authorized in the UK

In distinction to the previous, marrying family members is not widespread in some components of Europe and the United States. That is due to quite a lot of elements, together with social stigma and scientific proof that reveals the adverse genetic results of shut family members having youngsters. Whereas cousin marriage remains to be authorized in the UK, some US states have legal guidelines in place that limit shut relations, together with cousins, from getting legally married. 

Nonetheless,  all through historical past, there have been some notable Individuals who married their first cousins. Albert Einstein married his first cousin, Elsa Einstein, in accordance to The Guardian. And surprisingly, the couple was associated via each their mom’s and father’s sides. 

America’s thirty second President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was additionally married to a cousin, experiences History. His spouse, Eleanor, was his fifth cousin, as soon as eliminated. 

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