Prince Harry and Meghan Markle recently announced their engagement. But it turns out that even if His Royal Highness is from the United Kingdom, and his future wife is from across the pond, the couple are actually related!
Harry and Meghan are cousins!
The Royal family tree is complicated at best, and impossible to decipher at worst. However, The Mail performed the onerous task of undertaking a genealogical investigation into the pair’s history, and the results are in! The 33-year-old Prince and the 36-year-old actress are actually 15th cousins!
The pair are related through an ancestor of the Queen Mother who lived in 15th century England, Ralph Bowes, who was born in 1480. He was the High Sheriff of County Durham and his family seat was Streatlam Castle in the North East of England. On Harry’s side, the ancestry goes back along the Queen Mother’s lineage. On the other hand, Meghan is related to the ancient English noble through her father, Thomas Markle.
Ralph’s estates were eventually inherited by Sir George Bowes and Bridget Bowes. George’s part, through several generations, ended up in the hands of one Lady Elizabeth Bowes Lyon, also known as the Queen Mother. The line continues through Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles to Prince Harry.
So, what happened to Bridget Bowes? She married John Hussey of Dorking, Surrey. In 1642, their grandson Christopher Hussey moved to America and helped found Nantucket, Massachusetts. A few generations down the centuries, Doris Sanders was born: Meghan’s paternal grandmother.
Off with his head!
According to a new report from The Sunday Telegraph, at some point during the reign of Henry VIII, a plot was orchestrated to throw off the King. The mind behind said scheme was one Lord Hussey, 1st Baron Hussey of Sleaford. Lord Hussey, who lost his head as a result of his conspiring, was the great-great-great-grandfather of Christopher Hussey.
Incest or not?
This isn’t the first case of Royals being related to their spouses. Recently, travel website Expedia discovered that Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip are third cousins through Queen Victoria.
The fact that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are distantly related does not automatically mean that their marriage would be incestuous. If you go far enough back in the line of ancestry, you could probably find that everyone in the world is related to one another. In fact, a recent survey showed that all Europeans share a common ancestor who lived around 1000 years ago!