Are You Related To Royalty?

Updated: May 17


Where to look for noble ancestors & how to discover if you're descended from royalty, in association with Find My Past UK.

It's so often the subject of family lore & the reason why people get started in genealogy - the chance to prove a connection to royalty or nobility. Perhaps scurrilous rumours of an illegitimate child born out of wedlock in a courtly scandal needs proving, or the story of a Lord stripped of his title & land following a failed coup d'etat piques your interest.


If only you could prove your royal credentials beyond doubt, those castles would be yours, right? How likely is it that these family stories are anything more than hand-me-down tall tales? If Danny Dyer's famous appearance on Who Do You Think You Are? proves anything, it's that there may indeed be connections to royals or nobles in your family tree just waiting to be discovered.



With at least 40 bastards born within the royal family between the eleventh & fifteenth centuries, Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine has suggested that there are over four million descendants of Edward III alive today, with that article going on to state that some experts believe that "practically everyone" with British ancestry could be descended from royalty. If you're one of the estimated 13% of Americans with British ancestry, your chances of finding a royal connection are actually better than you might think. Now that we've established the possibility of a royal or noble ancestor, how do we go about pinpointing this connection?

The records you need to trace royal ancestry Here's a few resources to explore to determine whether you should be marching to the palace and demanding your set of keys. Or, failing that, if your ancestors simply had friends in high places. Census records By far the easiest way to establish a royal connection is by taking a look at the people living at a certain address at a certain point in history. And we're not just talking Windsor Castle, think of royal country homes, castles or other addresses associated with the family you're tracing.


A quick search can tell you the place of residence of royalty & nobility through the years. Once you've identified the address of the palace, castle or stately home you're interested in, simply search by address in the census and see if you recognise a familiar name in the list of inhabitants. Don't forget, house names, streets & county borders can change over the years. Check maps from the relevant period to ensure that you're searching for the right name, & always keep your search terms broad, remembering to use wildcards where appropriate. Royal Household Staff 1526-1924 Findmypast is home to this exclusive collection of individuals who worked for the royal household during a period that spans almost 400 years. If there are rumours of your ancestors having trod the royal boards, there's every possibility they may have worked as a member of staff.

This incredible resource includes at least one image from each record held at the Royal Archives. Often, these images will contain further information, including your ancestor's signature &, if relevant, the reason their employment came to an end. Reigning monarchs would typically employ in excess of 1,000 people, providing plenty of opportunities for you to discover an ancestor or relative who served the court in some way. In these records, you'll find everything from "Chocolate Maker to the Queen" to "Keeper of the Lions in the Tower" to the unfortunately intimate yet highly esteemed role of "Groom of the Stole". The Groom of the Stool (formally styled: "Groom of the King's Close Stool") was the most intimate of an English monarch's courtiers, responsible for assisting the king in excretion and ablution.


The physical intimacy of the role naturally led to his becoming a man in whom much confidence was placed by his royal master & with whom many royal secrets were shared as a matter of course. This secret information—while it would never have been revealed, for it would have led to the discredit of his honour—in turn led to his becoming feared & respected & therefore powerful within the royal court in his own right. The office developed gradually over decades & centuries into one of administration of the royal finances, & under Henry VII, the Groom of the Stool became a powerful official involved in setting national fiscal policy, under the "chamber system".

Britain, Knights of the Realm and Commonwealth So, maybe your family didn't live at the royal home, & maybe they weren't employed by the household. But the search isn't over yet. Many people with a strong connection to royals would have been awarded with an order of chivalry.

This rather esteemed collection contains the records of 35,000 people, from the 13th century to the present day. You'll find kings' most trusted confidantes, knights rewarded for their valour in battle & also more modern figures, like the actor Laurence Olivier & former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, a Baron & Baroness respectively.

Directories & social history records Noble & aristocratic families are likely to be recorded in the vast scope of directories & social histories available on Findmypast. This collection of almost 18 million records from across the world contains everything from highly detailed histories of certain names and areas to more general directories of who lived where, when.


While less comprehensive than census records, these records often contain much more detailed information on the people contained in them, including a fantastic collection of family histories & directories that trace the lineages of influential society members. While we'd all revel in the fact we have blue bloodlines, it's worth remembering that royal life isn't always as rosy as you might expect. Just take a look at The Queen's family tree (below) & you'll see why.

Take a closer look at Queen Elizabeth II’s ancestry & the British royal family tree. Romance, scandal, tragedy. Queen Elizabeth II’s family history has seen it all. There's no denying that certain individuals on the Queen’s royal family tree have led privileged but dramatic lives. You only have to binge-watch a season of The Crown to realise that.


How well do you know each of the Queen’s ancestors & descendants? I've built a couple of royal family trees to give you all the facts you need on the Royal Family, including who’s related to who, their relationship to the Queen & the stories they'll be remembered for.


First, let's take a look at the Queen's direct ancestry, stretching back four generations into the early 1800s.


The Queen's family tree


Queen Elizabeth II was born Elizabeth Alexandra Mary on 21 April 1926 in Mayfair, London.


The Queen's family tree

Born: 14 December 1895.

Died: 6 February 1952.

Father: King George V.

Mother: Mary of Teck.

Spouse: Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (The Queen Mother).

Children: Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Margaret.

Siblings: King Edward VIII, Mary, Princess Royal, Prince Henry, Prince George & Prince John.


Born: 4 August 1900.

Died: 30 March 2002.

Father: Claude-Bowes Lyon.

Mother: Cecilia Cavendish-Bentinck.

Spouse: King George VI.

Children: Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Margaret.

Siblings: Violet Hyacinth, Mary Frances, Patrick, John, Alexander Francis, Fergus, Rose Constance, Michael Claude Hamilton & David.


Born Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon, most of us know King George VI’s wife as The Queen Mother. Seen by many as the matriarch of the modern royals, The Queen Mother was a consistently popular member of the British Monarchy throughout her life. She was 101 years old when she died, just a few weeks after her daughter, Princess Margaret.


King George V

Born: 3 June 1865.

Died: 20 January 1936.

Father: King Edward VII.

Mother: Alexandra of Denmark.

Spouse: Mary of Teck.

Children: Edward VIII, George VI, Mary, Princess Royal, Prince Henry, Prince George, Prince John.

Siblings: Prince Albert Victor, Louise, Princess Royal, Princess Victoria, Maud, Queen of Norway & Prince John.


The Queen’s paternal grandfather reigned as King from 1910 until 1936. His time on the throne was set against the backdrop of a series of world-changing events including the First World War, the suffrage movement and the rise of fascism. George V was the first monarch of the House of Windsor.



Born: 26 May 1867.

Died: 24 March 1953.

Father: Francis, Duke of Teck.

Mother: Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge.

Spouse: King George V.

Children: Edward VIII, George VI, Mary, Princess Royal, Prince Henry, Prince George, Prince John.

Siblings: Adolphus, Francis & Alexander.


It’s easy to see why Mary of Teck carried such a shortened title. Her full name is a real mouthful - Victoria Mary Augusta Louise Olga Pauline Claudine Agnes. Yet, her family simply knew her as ‘May’. Before she married George V, Mary was actually engaged to his elder brother, Prince Albert Victor, but he died unexpectedly before they could marry. The queen consort's death came just a few weeks before her granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth II was crowned.


Claude Bowes-Lyon

Born: 14 March 1855.

Died: 7 November 1944.

Father: Claude Bowes-Lyon.

Mother: Frances Dora Smith.

Spouse: Cecilia Cavendish-Bentinck.

Children: Violet Hyacinth, Mary Frances, Patrick, John, Alexander Francis, Fergus, Rose Constance, Michael Claude Hamilton, Elizabeth (The Queen Mother) & David.

Siblings: Francis, Ernest, Herbert, Patrick, Constance, Kenneth, Mildred Marion, Maud Agnes, Evelyn Mary & Malcolm.


The Queen Mother's father & Queen's grandfather was 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, a.k.a. Lord Glamis. He owned large estates in England and Scotland & enjoyed working on his land. His younger brother, Patrick, won the Wimbledon doubles tennis tournament in 1887.


Cecilia Cavendish-Bentinck

Born: 11 September 1862.

Died: 23 June 1938.

Father: Charles Cavendish-Bentinck.

Mother: Caroline Louisa Burnaby.

Spouse: Claude Bowes-Lyon.

Children: Violet Hyacinth, Mary Frances, Patrick, John, Alexander Francis, Fergus, Rose Constance, Michael Claude Hamilton, Elizabeth (The Queen Mother) & David.

Siblings: Charles William, Charles, Ann Violet & Hyacinth Sinetta.


The Queen’s maternal grandmother was the eldest daughter of a reverend. With a preference for a quiet family life, she was known for her outstanding hosting skills, piano playing & keen interest in gardening. In 1938, Cecilia suffered a heart attack during her granddaughter, Anne-Bowes-Lyon’s wedding & died a few weeks later.


King Edward VII

Born: 9 November 1841.

Died: 6 May 1910.

Father: Prince Albert.

Mother: Queen Victoria.

Spouse: Alexandra of Denmark.

Children: Prince Albert Victor, George V, Louise, Princess Royal, Princess Victoria, Maud, Queen of Norway & Prince Alexander.

Siblings: Victoria, Alice, Alfred, Princess Helena, Princess Louise, Prince Arthur, Prince Leopold & Princess Beatrice.


Eldest son of the formidable Queen Victoria & Prince Albert, Edward ascended the throne when his mother died in 1901 & only reigned for nine years. With a reputation as a playboy prince, Edward’s relationship with his mother was sometimes strained. Edward VII is a paternal great-grandfather of Queen Elizabeth II’s, making Queen Victoria her great-great-grandmother.


Alexandra of Denmark

Born: 1 December 1844.

Died: 20 November 1925.

Father: Christian IX of Denmark.

Mother: Louise of Hesse-Kassel.

Spouse: Edward VII.

Children: Prince Albert Victor, George V, Louise, Princess Royal, Princess Victoria, Maud, Queen of Norway & Prince Alexander.

Siblings: Frederick VIII of Denmark, George I of Greece, Princess Dagmar of Denmark, Princess Thyra of Denmark & Prince Valdemar of Denmark.


1863 was a momentous year for Alexandra & her family. She married Edward VII, her father became King of Denmark & her brother became King of Greece, all within a few months of each other. She held the title of Princess of Wales longer than anyone in history. Alexandra was admired for her fashion sense.



Francis, Duke of Teck

Born: 28 August 1837.

Died: 21 January 1900.

Father: Duke Alexander of Württemberg.

Mother: Claudine Rhédey von Kis-Rhéde.

Spouse: Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge.

Children: Mary, Adolphus, Francis & Alexander.

Siblings: Princess Claudine & Princess Amelie.


Francis was Austrian nobility who married into the British Royal Family. He had a distinguished military career in Austria, Germany & Britain. His only daughter, ‘May’ married George V & became Queen Mary in 1893.



Born: 27 November 1833.

Died: 27 October 1897.

Father: Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge.

Mother: Princess Augusta of Hesse-Kassel.

Spouse: Francis, Duke of Teck.

Children: Mary, Adolphus, Francis & Alexander.

Siblings: Prince George & Princess Augusta.


Queen Mary’s mother & Queen Elizabeth II’s paternal great-grandmother was, in many respects, a pioneering member of the British Royal Family. She dedicated much of her life to charity, yet enjoyed an extravagant lifestyle that saw her family rack up crippling debts. Regrettably, Princess Mary didn’t live long enough to see her only daughter become Queen.


Claude Bowes-Lyon

Born: 21 July 1824.

Died: 16 February 1904.

Father: Thomas Lyon-Bowes.

Mother: Charlotte Grimstead.

Spouse: Frances Dora Smith.

Children: Claude, Francis, Ernest, Herbert, Patrick, Constance, Kenneth, Mildred Marion, Maud Agnes, Evelyn Mary & Malcolm.

Siblings: Thomas, Thomas, Charlotte, Herbert, Arthur & Frances.


Claude Bowes-Lyon, like his son after him, held the title of Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne. He changed the family name from Lyon-Bowes to Bowes-Lyon & was also a standout cricket player.


Born: 29 July 1832.

Died: 5 February 1922.

Father: Oswald Smith.

Mother: Henrietta Mildred Hodgson.

Spouse: Claude Bowes-Lyon.

Children: Claude, Francis, Ernest, Herbert, Patrick, Constance, Kenneth, Mildred Marion, Maud Agnes, Evelyn Mary & Malcolm.

Siblings: Isabella, Oswald, Eric Carrington, Laura Charlotte, Beilby & Marion Henrietta.


The paternal grandmother of The Queen Mother (and great-grandmother of The Queen) had 11 eleven children & outlived her husband, Claude Bowes-Lyon, by 18 years.



Charles Cavendish-Bentinck

Born: 8 November 1817.

Died: 17 August 1865.

Father: Lord Charles Bentinck.

Mother: Anne Wellesley.

Spouses: Sinetta Lambourne and Caroline Louisa Burnaby.

Children: Charles William, Charles, Cecilia, Ann Violet & Hyacinth Sinetta.

Siblings: Georgiana, Anne Hyacinthe, Emily & Arthur.


The Queen Mother’s maternal grandfather was a priest who married twice.


Caroline Louisa Burnaby


Born: 5 December 1832.

Died: 6 July 1918.

Father: Edwyn Burnaby.

Mother: Anne Caroline Salisbury.

Spouses: Charles Cavendish-Bentinck & Harry Warren Scott.

Children: Cecilia, Ann Violet & Hyacinth Sinetta.

Siblings: Edwyn, Cecilia, Gertrude & Ida.


Like her first husband, Caroline Louisa married twice. She was also widowed twice. Caroline Louisa Burnaby is a maternal great-grandmother of Queen Elizabeth II.




The Royal family tree today


Looking back at the Queen’s genealogy is fascinating but delving into her modern family ties is arguably even more so.


Royal Family Tree

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

Born: 10 June 1921.

Father: Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark.

Mother: Princess Alice of Battenberg.

Spouse: Queen Elizabeth II.

Children: Charles, Anne, Andrew & Edward.

Siblings: Margarita, Theodora, Cecile & Sophie.


Prince Philip has been dutifully by the Queen’s side since they married in 1947. He was actually born in Greece but his family were exiled from there while he was a young child. A Second World War veteran, Philip is now the oldest-ever male member of the British Monarchy.


Princess Margaret

Born: 21 August 1930.

Died: 9 February 2002.

Father: King George VI.

Mother: Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (The Queen Mother).

Spouse: Antony Armstrong-Jones.

Children: David and Sarah.

Sibling: Queen Elizabeth II.


The Queen’s younger sister & only sibling led quite the colourful life. After a controversial relationship with Captain Peter Townsend, she married photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones in 1960. The marriage fell apart in 1978 amid rumours of Margaret’s extra-marital affairs. A heavy smoker, much of Margaret's later years were dogged by ill-health.



Prince Charles

Born: 14 November 1948.

Father: Prince Philip.

Mother: Queen Elizabeth II.

Spouses: Lady Diana Spencer & Camilla Parker Bowles.

Children: Prince William & Prince Harry.

Siblings: Anne, Andrew & Edward


The Prince of Wales is the heir apparent to the British throne as the eldest son of Elizabeth II. He has been Duke of Cornwall & Duke of Rothesay since 1952, & he is the oldest & longest-serving heir apparent in British history. He is also the longest-serving Prince of Wales, having held that title since 1958. As Prince of Wales, Charles undertakes official duties on behalf of the Queen & the Commonwealth realms. Charles founded The Prince's Trust in 1976, sponsors The Prince's Charities, & is a patron, president, & a member of over 400 other charities & organisations. As an environmentalist, he raises awareness of organic farming & climate change, which has earned him awards & recognition from environmental groups. His support for alternative medicine, including homeopathy, has been criticised by some in the medical community, & his views on the role of architecture in society & the conservation of historic buildings have received considerable attention from British architects & design critics. Since 1993, Charles has worked on the creation of Poundbury, an experimental new town based on his preferences. He is also an author & co-author of a number of books.


Princess Anne

Born: 15 August 1950.

Father: Prince Philip.

Mother: Queen Elizabeth II.

Spouses: Mark Phillips & Timothy Laurence.

Children: Peter Phillips & Zara Tindall.

Siblings: Charles, Andrew & Edward.


Prince Anne is the second child & only daughter of Queen Elizabeth II & Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. At the time of her birth, she was third in the line of succession to the British throne, behind her mother – then Princess Elizabeth – & older brother, Charles. She rose to second after her mother's accession but is 14th in line as of August 2019.


Anne is known for her charitable work & is a patron of over 200 organisations. She is also known for her equestrian talents; she won two silver medals (1975) & one gold medal (1971) at the European Eventing Championships, & she is the first member of the British royal family to have competed in the Olympic Games. Princess Anne has held the title of Princess Royal since 1987 & is its seventh holder.


Anne was married to Captain Mark Phillips in 1973; they separated in 1989 & divorced in 1992. They have two children & four grandchildren. In 1992, within months of her divorce, Anne married Commander (now Vice Admiral) Sir Timothy Laurence, whom she had met while he served as her mother's equerry between 1986 & 1989. Since 2012, she has held the rank of Admiral & Chief Commandant of Women in the Royal Navy




Prince Andrew, Duke of York


Born: 19 February 1960.

Father: Prince Philip.

Mother: Queen Elizabeth II.

Spouse: Sarah Ferguson.

Children: Princess Beatrice & Princess Eugenie.

Siblings: Charles, Anne & Edward.


The Duke of York is the third child & second son of Queen Elizabeth II & Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. He was second in the line of succession to the British throne when he was born, but he is eighth in line as of December 2019. He holds the rank of vice admiral in the Royal Navy, in which he served as a helicopter pilot & instructor & as the captain of a warship. He served during the Falklands War in 1982, flying on multiple missions including anti-surface warfare, Exocet missile decoy, & casualty evacuation. In 1986, Prince Andrew married Sarah Ferguson; their marriage, separation, & divorce in 1996 attracted much media coverage. He served as Britain's Special Representative for International Trade & Investment for 10 years until July 2011.


Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex


Born: 10 March 1964.

Father: Prince Philip.

Mother: Queen Elizabeth II.

Spouse: Sophie Rhys-Jones.

Children: Louise & James.

Siblings: Charles, Anne & Andrew.


Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, Earl of Forfar is the youngest of four children and the third son of Queen Elizabeth II & Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. At the time of his birth, he was third in line of succession to the British throne; as of July 2019, he is 11th. The Earl is a full-time working member of the British royal family & supports the Queen in her official duties – often alongside his wife, the Countess of Wessex – as well as undertaking public engagements for many of his own charities. In particular he has assumed many duties from his father, the Duke of Edinburgh, who retired from public life in 2017. Prince Edward succeeded Prince Philip as president of the Commonwealth Games Federation (vice-patron since 2006) & opened the 1990 Commonwealth Games in New Zealand & the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Malaysia. He has also taken over the Duke's role in the Duke of Edinburgh's Award.


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