Skip to main contentSkip to footer

Inside the deep-rooted ties between Britain and Europe's royals

Death of Queen Elizabeth II affected royalty across Europe due to shared ancestry

royal explainer queen european royals
Phoebe Tatham
Content Writer
22 February 2023
Share this:

Queen Elizabeth II's sad death touched royal fans across the world. While her passing was most notable in the UK, the loss of Britain's longest-reigning monarch deeply affected the European royals thanks to their shared ancestry.

Aside from their geographical proximity, many of the key European royal households count Queen Elizabeth II among their distant relatives. Her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria – who earned herself the moniker 'Grandmother of Europe' – encouraged her children to marry strategically, with many of her nine children marrying into European royalty.

To offer just a few examples, Queen Victoria's eldest son Edward married Alexandra of Denmark, her daughter Princess Alice wed Prince Louis of Hesse and Princess Beatrice Mary Victoria walked down the aisle with Prince Henry of Battenberg.

queen elizabeth blue outfit© Photo: Getty Images

The late Queen passed away at her Balmoral home

The team at HELLO! is taking a deep dive into the late monarch's extraordinary heritage beyond our tiny island. Keep scrolling to discover how the British royal family is closely connected to multiple continental royals…

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and Queen Elizabeth II were third cousins, with both royal ladies descending from Queen Victoria and King Christian IX of Denmark.

Queen Margrethe © Photo: Getty Images

Queen Margrethe is Europe's longest-serving monarch

The distant cousins are also related through Margrethe's mother – Ingrid of Sweden – who was a descendant of Queen Victoria through her granddaughter Princess Margaret of Connaught.

DISCOVER: The truth behind Queen Margrethe's £620k engagement ring

READ: Inside Princess Marie & Crown Princess Mary's relationship - amid title controversy

During Queen Elizabeth's reign, the two cousins were reportedly very close. The monarchs regularly met up for lunch whenever Queen Margrethe II visited London, and the duo would sweetly refer to each other as 'Lilibet' and 'Daisy'.

Queen Margrethe with Queen Elizabeth II© Photo: Getty Images

The duo shared a close bond

Upon hearing news of the Queen's death, Queen Margrethe II penned a moving letter to King Charles III. "Your mother was very important to me and my family," she gushed. "She was a towering figure among the European monarchs and a great inspiration to us all. We shall miss her terribly.

“Denmark and I are grateful for her continuous efforts to further strengthen the close and warm relations between our two nations. God bless you both and give you strength and hope in your future life and duties.”

Prince Albert II of Monaco

Princess Charlene and her husband Prince Albert of Monaco were among the royal guests present at Queen Elizabeth II's moving funeral service on 19 September.

Prince Albert II of Monaco © Photo: Getty Images

Prince Albert of Monaco wed Princess Charlene in 2011

Prince Albert is a distant cousin of Her Majesty via a British aristocrat – Lady Mary Victoria Hamilton – who married into the House of Grimaldi when she wed Albert I, Prince of Monaco in the 19th Century.

MORE: Princess Charlene and Prince Albert celebrate special relationship milestone following 'trying time'

Prince Albert II was deeply moved by the Queen's death. In a poignant letter addressed to King Charles III, the Monegasque royal wrote: "Her Majesty's unwavering commitment and dedication to duty during her reign have always been extremely inspiring.

"It will be long remembered and admired. She truly represented the unity and dignity of the United Kingdom throughout the last seven decades."

Queen Elizabeth's 70-year reign began before Albert was even born with the Monaco royal set to turn 65 in March. Watch this video for more information on Albert's life and reign.

WATCH: Prince Albert II's life and times

King Philippe of Belgium

King Philippe of Belgium is a distant cousin of the late Queen. The third cousins share a handful of common ancestors including the likes of Franz, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld who was the grandfather of Queen Victoria and the father of King Leopold I of the Belgians.

King Philippe of Belgium with the Queen © Photo: Getty Images

The late Queen with King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium

Both royals were great-great-grandchildren of Queen Victoria.

King Willem-Alexander of The Netherlands

Dutch royal King Willem-Alexander and Queen Elizabeth II are fifth cousins, twice removed thanks to their shared connection to Princess Carolina of Orange-Nassau.

King Willem Alexander of the Netherlands © Photo: Getty Images

King Willem-Alexander succeeded his mother in 2013

While the former monarch is related to Princess Carolina through Queen Mary, King Willem-Alexander descends from Princess Carolina through her son, Frederick William, Prince of Nassau-Weilburg.

King Harald V of Norway

Norway's King Harald V was a second cousin of the late Queen, with both royals sharing the same set of great-grandparents: King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra.

King Harald V of Norway with the Queen © Photo: Getty Images

King Harald V recently turned 86

During the German occupation of Norway, King Haakan and Crown Prince Olav (King Harald V's father) sought refuge at Buckingham Palace. It's believed that Queen Elizabeth II named her eldest child, Prince Charles, after King Haakan (born Prince Carl of Denmark).

MORE HARALD: King Harald of Norway shares update after worrying health scare

King Felipe VI of Spain

King Felipe VI's father, Juan Carlos I, is related to the Queen by Queen Victoria. Felipe was the Queen's third cousin, and much like Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, the Spanish royal frequently made use of Queen Elizabeth's pet name Auntie Lilibet.

King Felipe VI of Spain© Photo: Getty Images

King Felipe VI with his father, Juan Carlos I

Their touching bond came to light following the sad death of the Queen's husband, Prince Philip. His emotional letter to the Queen read: "Dear Aunt Lilibet, we are deeply saddened to hear about the passing away of dear uncle Philip.

RELATED: Inside the British royal family's unbreakable bond with the Green royal family

"In these sad moments, we would like to send you our most heartfelt condolences on behalf of the government and people of Spain, and all our sympathy and support.

King Felipe with the Queen © Photo: Getty Images

King Felipe VI referred to Her Majesty as 'Aunt Lilibet'

"We will never forget the moments that we shared with him and the legacy of service and dedication to the Crown and the United Kingdom by your side. Our thoughts and prayers are with Your Majesty and the whole family."

King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden

The Swedish royal family is closely related to the British royal household. Like many European royals, Both King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Elizabeth II shared the same great-great-grandmother in Queen Victoria.

Carl King Gustaf of Sweden © Photo: Getty Images

King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden

The two families are so well interconnected that some of the Swedish royals are part of Britain's line of succession. Did you know that King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden is currently 293rd in line to the British throne?

And in 294th place is Prince Carl Philip – the only son of King Carl and Queen Silvia.

LISTEN: Why royals need to pack extra blood while on tour 

Sign up to HELLO Daily! for the best royal, celebrity and lifestyle coverage

By entering your details, you are agreeing to HELLO! Magazine User Data Protection Policy. You can unsubscribe at any time. For more information, please click here.