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Is Queen Elizabeth royal blood?

Queen Elizabeth II was the longest reigning British monarch in history, serving as Queen of the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth realms from February 6, 1952 until her death on September 8, 2022 at the age of 96. As the monarch, Queen Elizabeth was born into the royal family and descended from a long line of kings and queens dating back over 1,000 years. But what exactly makes someone “royal blood”?

The idea of royal or noble blood refers to the concept that royalty and nobility are inherent qualities passed down through bloodlines. Historically, royal and noble status was believed to be genetic, making members of royal and noble families intrinsically different from common people. This supported the divine right of kings, the belief that royalty derived its power directly from God.

While modern science has disproved notions of “blue blood” being biologically different, the idea of royal blood and noble ancestry persists. Members of royal families like Queen Elizabeth are still considered royalty and noble by descent. Their noble status is passed down the generations along family bloodlines.

So is Queen Elizabeth actually of “royal blood?” By being born into the royal family as the daughter of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, the Queen certainly did inherit royal status and nobility. But her ancestry is also tied to centuries of British and European royal dynasties, giving Queen Elizabeth a particularly strong claim to royal blood.

The Royal Lineage of Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II belonged to the House of Windsor, the reigning royal house of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms. The House of Windsor began in 1917 when King George V changed the name of the royal house from the German-sounding House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. He did so due to anti-German sentiment in the British Empire during World War I.

The House of Windsor descends from the House of Hanover, which succeeded the House of Stuart as British monarchs in 1714. The Line of succession can be traced back through the Stuart, Tudor, and Plantagenet dynasties to William the Conqueror in 1066.

Going even further back, the English royal family is descended from the Anglo-Saxon royal houses of Wessex and Northumbria. These Anglo-Saxon dynasties themselves claimed descent from the legendary Saxon chieftain Cerdic of Wessex, founder of Anglo-Saxon England in 519 AD.

In summary, Queen Elizabeth II belonged to a royal bloodline tracing back over 1,400 years to early Medieval England. On her mother’s side she is descended from Scottish and English nobility and royalty, including renowned historical figures like Henry VII and Mary, Queen of Scots.

Key Royal Ancestors of Queen Elizabeth II

Ancestor Relation to Queen Elizabeth II Significance
King George V Grandfather Founder of the House of Windsor
King Edward VII Great-Grandfather Eldest son of Queen Victoria
Queen Victoria Great-Great-Grandmother Longest reigning British monarch before Queen Elizabeth II
King George III Great-Great-Great-Grandfather King during American Revolutionary War
King James I & VI Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandfather First Stuart king of England. James VI of Scotland
Mary, Queen of Scots Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandmother Catholic Stuart claimant to the English throne
King Henry VII Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandfather Founder of the Tudor dynasty

This small sample of Queen Elizabeth’s royal lineage shows she descended from pivotal figures across British and European history. She carried the blood of the Stuart, Tudor, and Plantagenet dynasties, as well as earlier English and Scottish royalty.

Intermarriage Between Royal Dynasties

A major reason the bloodline of Queen Elizabeth II spans so many imperial and royal households is because of the historical practice of only marrying within royal and noble families. Almost all of Queen Elizabeth’s ancestors on both sides married princesses or noblewomen.

Royal intermarriage served to preserve the purity of royal blood, preventing dilution by common or bourgeois blood. It also cemented alliances between royal houses. The children of intermarriages united claims to multiple thrones, as was the case with Queen Elizabeth’s great-grandmother Queen Victoria.

As Victoria was descended from British royalty on both sides, her accession ushered in no new royal house. She remained of the House of Hanover established by her grandfather King George III.

Intermarriage means Queen Elizabeth II descended from a limited pool of European monarchical and noble houses, making her bloodline particularly exclusive. Most European royalty and nobility are cousins to some degree, descending from the same medieval noble families.

This practice of royal intermarriage means Queen Elizabeth’s long royal lineage gave her relation to most current European monarchs.

European Monarchs Related to Queen Elizabeth II

Monarch Relation to Queen Elizabeth II
King Harald V of Norway Second cousin
Queen Margrethe II of Denmark Third cousin
King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden Fourth cousin
King Philippe of Belgium Third cousin, twice removed
Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands Fifth cousin, once removed
King Juan Carlos I of Spain Fourth cousin, twice removed

This demonstrates how Queen Elizabeth was linked by blood and marriage to royalty across Europe.

The Exclusivity of Royal Blood

Marrying exclusively within royal and noble circles allowed Queen Elizabeth’s ancestors to distinguish their dynastic lineage from those of the general population. Royal and noble status depended on demonstrating an ancestral bloodline free from admixture with commoners.

Any instances of royalty marrying commoners or outside royalty in British history tended to be controversial. When Edward VIII wished to marry the American divorcée Wallis Simpson in 1936, it created a constitutional crisis. Edward’s determination to go against tradition and marry Simpson for love forced him to abdicate after less than a year as king. This demonstrates the weight placed on maintaining royal exclusivity.

The emphasis on purity of bloodline declined through the 20th century. Following the devastation of World War I, there was a shortage of eligible Protestant princes for royal brides in Britain and elsewhere. Nobility also lost much of its status and privileges.

This led to more openness towards marriage between royalty and the general public. Queen Elizabeth’s grandson Prince William marrying the non-royal Kate Middleton in 2011 with little controversy shows this change.

However, the precedent of royal intermarriage means Queen Elizabeth possessed a uniquely exclusive bloodline tying her to European royalty spanning generations. Her noble lineage was a major source of legitimacy for her status as British monarch.

scandals involving Royal Blood

While British royalty has cultivated an image of purity and virtue, preserving royal bloodlines has not prevented scandals surrounding infidelity and illegitimate children at times. Royal mistresses and illegitimate offspring born of forbidden relationships served to dilute or disrupt the hallowed royal blood passed down in name only.

King Henry VIII famously had numerous mistresses and illegitimate children despite his obsession with securing the Tudor succession through legitimate sons. Charles II had at least 12 illegitimate children born of mistresses like Nell Gwyn. Diana, Princess of Wales discussed her husband Prince Charles’ affair with Camilla Parker Bowles in a bombshell 1995 interview, undermining public belief in royal fidelity.

Rumors of illegitimacy have been fueled by the absence of family resemblance between monarchs and their alleged offspring. King George IV was nicknamed “Prinny” and popularly satirized for his debauched lifestyle and corpulent figure completely unlike his parents. Doubts over true paternity swirled around Victoria’s son Prince Albert Victor. Proponents of the illegitimacy theory argue that these monarchs were illegitimate royal bastards lacking proper royal blood.

Blood disorders and madness known to be propagated by royal inbreeding have also disrupted the image of royals as exceptional bloodlines. The mental instability that plagued King George III was tied to the hereditary disease porphyria thought to have been spread through excessive inbreeding. Scientific analysis has revealed how hemophilia affected Victoria’s descendants in Britain, Spain and Russia due to her carrier status.

Such defects served to undercut notions of royal blood as inherently superior. While scandals and genetic failings may disrupt the aura of purity surrounding royal lineage, they have not removed the cultural mystique surrounding royal blood. The Queen’s unique and well-documented genealogy confirms her rightful place as a monarch from a validated bloodline.


Queen Elizabeth II’s lineage spanning over a millennium and descending from almost every major royal dynasty in British and European history provides her a bloodline as close to objectively “royal” as conceivable. While the idea of royal blood evokes notions of divine right now considered unscientific, being born into a family whose noble status confers royalty remains critical to ascension as monarch.

The exclusive intermarriage practiced by European royalty led to Queen Elizabeth being related by blood and marriage to most other European royals. Scandals around infidelity and questions over succession may have arisen throughout British history. But Queen Elizabeth’s thoroughly researched ancestry remains remarkably free of any illegitimacy controversy.

By being born the daughter of a king and descending from an unbroken royal bloodline tracing back over a thousand years, Queen Elizabeth II was royalty in both name and blood. Her lineage represented a singularly elite royal pedigree that cemented her status as a monarch. Through her ancestry she carried the torch of British and European royalty into the modern era. For over 70 years as Queen, her royal blood provided her an unquestioned legitimacy that will endure through the ages.