It turns out that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are distantly related through an ancestor of the Queen Mother.
Meghan, through her father Thomas, is descended from Ralph Bowes, a relation from 15 generations ago. Bowes was a High Sherriff of County Durham, and his family seat was Streatlam Castle.
The Daily Mail conducted the family tree search that reveals that Prince Harry and Meghan are 15th cousins.
Meghan’s line comes from Ralph Bowes’s granddaughter, Bridget Bowes and her husband John Hussey. Their grandson, Christopher Hussey, sailed over to America in 1632, helped found Nantucket, Massachusetts, and continued the family line down to Thomas Markle.
Prince Harry’s line traces from Bridget Bowes’s uncle, who inherited Streatlam Castle and the Bowes estate and passed them down through his male heirs. Eventually, an MP named Sir George Bowes inherited and had a daughter with his second wife named Mary Bowes.
Mary Bowes married John Lyon, 9th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, who added ‘Bowes’ to his last name to ensure that he could inherit Mary’s fortune. This is the creation of the famed “Bowes-Lyon” family, which eventually yielded Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles, and Prince Harry.
Prince Harry shares this family tree quirk with his older brother, Prince William, who is also distantly related to his wife, Catherine the Duchess of Cambridge.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge share a common ancestor in Sir Thomas Leighton, an Elizabethan era soldier who became Governor of Guernsey and Jersey from 1570-1609. Leighton is Prince William’s 12th great-grandfather and Catherine’s 11th great-grandfather, making them 12th cousins, once removed.
Leighton was married to Elizabeth Knollys, a cousin once removed to Elizabeth I.
The news of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s common ancestor comes as speculation is heating up about a royal wedding in 2018. The couple reportedly had tea with the Queen recently and were spotted holding hands at the Invictus Games in Toronto in September.