Were Prince Philip & the Queen Really Cousins? Here’s a Look at Their Family Tree

Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II
Photo: AP Photo/Sang Tan.

For years, royal followers have wondered if Prince Philip and the Queen are cousins. Now, after the Duke of Edinburgh’s death, the interest has spiked again. So…were Prince Philip and the Queen cousins? Well, the answer is complicated.

Buckingham Palace confirmed on April 9, 2021, that Prince Philip had died at the age of 99. “It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement at the time. “His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle. Further announcements will be made in due course. The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss.”

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, who wed on November 20, 1947, were married for almost 74 years. The couple share four children: Prince Charles, 72, Princess Anne, 70, Prince Andrew, 61, and Prince Edward, 57. In a post on the Royal Family’s Instagram account on April 10, the Queen paid tribute to her late husband with a quote from their golden wedding anniversary in 1997. “He has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years, and I, and his whole family, and this and many other countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim, or we shall ever know,” the quote read.

Despite the tumultuous depiction of their relationship on The Crown, the Queen has described him as her “strength and stay.” But are they related? Ahead is what we know about if Prince Philip and the Queen are cousins.

Was Prince Philip the Queen’s cousin?

Prince Philip and the Queen are in fact related and both direct relatives of Queen Victoria. Prince Philip was born on the Greek Island of Corfu in 1921 as Philippos Schleswig-Holstein Sonderburg-Glucksburg, according to Reuters. He is the fifth child and the only son of Prince Andrew of Greece and Princess Alice of Battenberg, who was of British descent, according to the British royal family’s website.

According to Town & Country, Princess Alice, Prince Philip’s mother, is the direct relative of Queen Victoria. Princess Alice was born in 1885 in the presence of her great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, at Windsor Castle, where Philip also died. That makes Philip Queen Victoria’s great-great-grandson.

While Philip is related to Queen Victoria on his maternal side, Queen Elizabeth II is related to Queen Victoria on her paternal side. Queen Elizabeth II and her sister Princess Margaret’s father is King George VI, who was the great-grandson of Queen Victoria. This makes Queen Elizabeth II the great-great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria and Philip’s third cousin.

Though Prince Philip and the Queen were third cousins, they didn’t meet through shared family. Instead, the Queen (who was then known as Princess Elizabeth) and Philip met at the wedding of Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark and Prince George, Duke of Kent, in 1934. The Queen was 8 at the time, while

The future Queen and duke first met when in 1934 at the wedding of Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark to Prince George, Duke of Kent. At the time, then-Princess Elizabeth was 8, and Philip was 13. The two reconnected again when the Queen was 13 and Philip was 18 when she visited him at the Royal Naval College with her family. At the time, Philip was a cadet-in-training, and after their meeting, they started writing letters to each other. In July 1947, the Queen and Philip announced their engagement. The two were married on November 20, 1947, when the Queen was 21 and Philip was 26.

In April 2021, Last Week Tonight host John Oliver faced backlash for a joke he made after Philip’s death about how the Duke of Edinburgh and the Queen were cousins. “Well, they were related,” Oliver said. “Yeah, it’s true. Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth are cousins who later got married—also known as a Giuliani meet cute.”

Prince Philip Revealed by Ingrid Seward

"Prince Philip Revealed" by Ingrid Seward

Image: Courtesy of Atria Books.

For more about Prince Philip’s life, check out Ingrid Seward’s biography about the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip Revealed, Seward, a Majesty magazine editor who has been covering the British royal family for decades for, unravels the “enigma” that we know as Prince Philip. From his early childhood in Paris to his mother’s battle with schizophrenia to his military service in World War II, Seward covers topics that many royal followers may not know about or haven’t seen on The Crown. The book also discusses how Prince Philip was “initially distrusted” by the royal court before he found his place in Buckingham Palace.

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