One is the longest reigning monarch in Europe, the other is the newest king on the continent. But while their reigns started sixty years apart, Elizabeth II and Felipe VI have a linked history with roots in centuries past. The pair share several blood lines with ties to two of the most famous matchmakers in royal history. Here are the different ways Elizabeth II and Felipe VI get to call each other cousin.
The Victorian Side
The queen who dominated the 19th century is an ancestor of both the British and Spanish monarchs and one of them has a double tie to the woman who gave her name to an era. Both Felipe VI and Elizabeth II are descendants of Queen Victoria through their fathers. The Queen is the great, great, granddaughter of the woman she replaced as longest reigning monarch in British history. She is descended from Victoria’s eldest son, King Edward VII.
Felipe VI also has a paternal line going all the way back to the great queen. His father, Juan Carlos I of Spain, is the grandson of Queen Ena of Spain who started life as Princess Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg, the only daughter of Queen Victoria’s youngest child, Princess Beatrice.
But Felipe also has a link to Victoria’s firstborn, too. His mother, Queen Sofia, was the daughter of King Paul of Greece who himself was a grandson of Victoria, Princess Royal and the eldest of Victoria and Albert’s nine children. Her marriage, in 1858, to the future Emperor Frederick III of Germany, produced eight children. The eldest of those became Emperor Wilhelm II whose only daughter, Victoria Louise, married Prince Ernest Augustus of Hanover. Their only daughter, Frederica, married King Paul of Greece thus providing a double link to Queen Victoria for Felipe VI of Spain.
The Danish Dimension
Victoria earned herself the nickname of ‘Grandmother of Europe’ thanks to the matchmaking that saw her descendants marry into many of the continent’s ruling houses. But another 19th century royal who never expected to rule was giving her a run for her money when it came to sharing genes. King Christian IX of Denmark was no slouch when it came to arranging royal weddings and, as a result, we find him in the family trees of both Elizabeth II and Felipe VI.
He is a great, great grandfather of the Queen through his daughter, Alexandra. She married Queen Victoria’s eldest son, the future Edward VII, in March 1863, just months before her father became King of Denmark. Their second son, King George V, was the grandfather of Elizabeth II.
Felipe’s link to Christian is again two fold and once more comes via his mother, Sofia. Christian IX’s second son, George, became King of Greece and was the paternal grandfather of Sofia’s father, King Paul. And Christian’s youngest daughter, Princess Thyra, was the paternal grandmother of Sofia’s mother, Frederica.
Those are the stand out royal links between these two monarchs although the complicated bloodlines of Europe’s ruling houses mean connections between all of today’s regal families are multiple. If you want to find out more about how royal houses across Europe are linked to one another, Royal Central’s Assistant Editor Moniek Bloks has written a book about Carolina of Orange-Nassau, ancestress of many modern kings, queens, princes and princesses which is available worldwide!