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This is a list of prominent individuals who have been romantically or maritally coupled with a cousin, niece, nephew, aunt or uncle.

Cousin-couple marriage increases the probability of the issue's having a genetic disease. However, the probability is still relatively small—roughly 6%. The same probability is present in issue of women who give birth over the age of 40. Since many of these marriages took place before the 20th century, most women gave birth before the age of 30.

Because many people regard cousin couplings as taboo, they mistakenly assume that an infrequent presence of coupled cousins in a lineage means that the descendants must have one or more genetic diseases. The risk of such diseases does rise, however, when a lineage includes many cousin couplings.

Most historians consider the House of Habsburg as an example of genetically-induced disease as the direct result of pedigree collapse. The last Hapsburg King of Spain, Charles II, makes an instructive case. In anyone's family tree, there are seven marriages in the previous three generations. In Charles' case, there were three uncle-niece marriages in those seven marriages. His father and two of his great-grandfathers married their nieces. His paternal grandparents were first cousins, once removed, but they comprised two of the seven marriages because they were also parents to his maternal grandmother. His maternal grandparents' marriage and the final marriage of great-grandparents was between first cousins. Like most people, the family tree of Elizabeth II to five generations has 62 different people in the 62 different positions. The family tree of Charles II had only 32 different persons in the 62 positions. Going back two more generations, he had only 82 different people in 254 positions. Charles II was born with extensive physical, intellectual and emotional problems and was incapable of producing an heir, a fact which resulted in the War of Spanish Succession. His lineage was so intermarried that he had a higher inbreeding ratio than if he had been born to a brother-sister couple.

Royalty

Monarchy of England, Britain and the United Kingdom

The table shows the closest cousin relationship (1st, 2nd, 3rd, ...) between the sovereigns and their spouses. A few non-sovereigns are shown to connect missing generations. If the cousin relationship is once removed, a yes is in the appropriate column.

In only two cases (first wife of James II and of Edward VIII) is the familial relationship completely unknown. Neither woman was queen consort (one died before her husband became king, and the other married after he abdicated). Both marriages were considered scandalous for their time. The first wife of James II was the only daughter of a wealthy man, but with no pedigree. The marriage did produce two future sovereign queens. Edward VIII married Wallis Simpson, and cited his desire to marry the twice divorced American woman as the reason for his abdication in 1936.

Richard III was portrayed by Shakespeare in Act IV, scene III of the play, "Richard III," as planning to murder his present wife, Anne Neville, and plotting to marry his teenage niece, Elizabeth of York, and stop the War of the Roses. However, this proposed marriage seems to have been a rumor that Shakespeare used to make Richard III seem particularly evil, and there have been no marriages in British royalty closer than first cousin.

The British royal cousin marriages are considered an example of endogamy, or the practice of marrying within a specific class and social group, often for financial gain or influence in affairs of state. The handful of first-cousin marriages was not out of the norm for their time.

  1. 1472: The first royal marriage of first cousins once removed was between Richard III and Anne Neville.
  2. The marriage is famously depicted by Shakespeare as one of the most twisted in all of history.
  3. Richard III is depicted as wooing Anne after killing her first husband and her father; and he would take her in her heart's extremest hate, with curses in her mouth, tears in her eyes.
  4. This marriage produced one son who died young.

  5. 1554: The next royal marriage of first cousins once removed was between Mary I, and the King of Spain, Phillip II of the House of Hapsburg.
  6. It was one of the most despised relationships in British history.
  7. The couple barely saw each other, and after Mary's death, the Spanish king would launch the Spanish Armada against England.
  8. There was no issue from this marriage.
  9. 1677: The initial first-cousin marriage (with no generations removed) was the marriage of William and Mary.
  10. It was a stable marriage, despite William's having at least one acknowledged mistress and numerous rumors of homosexual affairs.
  11. There was no issue from this marriage.
  12. 1682: The next first-cousin marriage of George I was pre-arranged and ended in divorce 12 years later.
  13. The couple hated each other.
  14. George had his ex-wife/cousin imprisoned for the last three decades of her life for infidelity.
  15. The daughter of George I also married her only first cousin.
  16. As a result, all the legitimate descendants of the mother of George I are identical to the descendants of George I.
  17. So the entire line of succession to the British throne is descended from this cousin marriage.
  18. There are over 5000 descendants alive in the beginning of the 21st century.
  19. 1795: The pre-arranged marriage of George IV to his first cousin was disastrously unhappy.
  20. The couple despised each other and separated shortly after the birth of their only child, a daughter who died in childbirth, eventually paving the way for Victoria to succeed to the throne.
  21. 1840: Queen Victoria's marriage to her first cousin had virtually no strategic or economic advantage, and was purely based on the attraction between the couple and the desire of Victoria to break out the strict and elaborate set of rules designed by her mother concerning her upbringing.
  22. This marriage produced 9 children, and 40 grandchildren and over 1000 total descendants who constitute a sizable portion of the royalty in Europe over the last century and a half.
  23. The deadly genetic disease, hemophilia – which started with Victoria – is unrelated to the first-cousin marriage.



    Monarchy of England Britain and the UK
    STATUS Name Cousin Once removed Consort (Spouse)
    King William the Conqueror 3 yes Mathilde de Flandre
    King William II --- murdered
    King Henry I Beauclerc 5 yes Maud of Scotland
    King Stephen 4 yes Mathilde de Boulogne
    King Henry II 3 Eleanor d'Aquitaine
    King Richard I (Lionheart) 4 Berenguela de Navarra
    King John I 4 yes Isabelle d'Angoulême
    King Henry III 4 Eléonore de Provence
    King Edward I 2 yes Eleanor de Castilla
    King Edward II 2 yes Isabelle (Capétiens),
    King Edward III of Windsor 2 Philippa d'Avesnes
    King Richard II 4 Anne de Luxembourg
    King Henry IV of Bolingbroke 2 Mary de Bohun.
    King Henry V 3 yes Catherine de Valois
    King Henry VI 3 Marguerite d'Anjou
    King Edward IV 6 yes Elizabeth Woodville
    King Edward V --- murdered as a child
    King Richard III 1 yes Anne Neville
    King Henry VII 3 Elizabeth Plantagenêt
    King Henry VIII 3 yes Catherine of Aragon
    5 yes Anne Boleyn
    5 Jane Seymour
    5 yes Katherine Howard
    5 Anne of Cleves
    3 yes Katherine Parr
    Queen Mary I 1 yes Felipe II von Habsburg
    Queen Elizabeth I --- never married
    King James I Stuart 3 yes Anne von Oldenburg
    King Charles I Stuart 3 yes Henriette-Marie de Bourbon,
    King Charles II Stuart --- no legitimate marriage
    King James II Stuart not consort Anne Hyde
    3 yes Maria Beatrice d'Este
    Queen Mary II 1 William & Mary (co-monarchs)
    Queen Anne 2 yes Georg von Oldenburg
    King George I 1 Sophia Dorothea
    King George II 3 yes Queen Caroline
    King George III 3 Charlotte Mecklenburg
    King George IV 1 Karoline von Braunschweig
    King William IV 3 yes Adelheid von Sachsen-Meiningen
    Queen Victoria 1 Prince Albert
    King Edward VII 3 Queen Alexandra
    King George V 2 yes Queen Mary
    King Edward VIII not consort Wallis Simpson
    King George VI 13 Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon
    Queen Elizabeth II 2 yes Prince Philip


    Other Members of Royal Family Britain and the UK
    STATUS Name Cousin Once removed Consort (Spouse)
    Queen of Bohemia Elizabeth Stuart 4 Friedrich V von der Pfalz
    Duchess Sophia of Hanover 2 yes Ernst August
    Prince of Wales Frederick 3 yes Augusta von Sachsen
    Prince Edward Augustus 3 yes Victoria (mother of Queen)
    Prince of Wales Charles 7 yes Diana Spencer
    11 Camilla Shand
    Prince of Wales Charles 2 Amanda Knatchbull
    Before Diana, Amanda
    was being groomed for five years
    to be the wife of Charles




    • The most recent common ancestor of George VI of the United Kingdom and his wife Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon was Henry VII who had died over 400 years before their marriage. When the future king married his 13th cousin on 26 April 1923 his older brother, Edward VIII, the heir apparent was still only age 28 and was still expected to marry and succeed to the throne. However, shortly after the marriage, Edward began to openly talk about his desire to abdicate and make his brother the sovereign, which he actually did 13 years later. This marriage was the most distant family relationship that produced a child that also became a sovereign. It was also the first time since James II that a sovereign married a spouse of primarily British descent. It was also the first time since Henry VIII that a sovereign married someone who was more distantly related than 3rd cousin once removed (not including Edward VIII, marrying Wallis Simpson after his abdication).


    • The most recent common ancestor of Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip was Christian IX of Denmark who had died in 1906. The table list the closest familial relationship, but sometimes more distant relationships are better known. Queen Elizabeth II, and her consort, Prince Philip are also 3rd cousins from their descent from Queen Victoria who died in 1901. Both the marriage of Princess Elizabeth to Prince Philip and the potential arrangements to marry Prince Charles to Amanda Knatchbull were primarily the result of the matchmaking skills of Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma. He was the uncle to Prince Phillip and the grandfather to Amanda Knatchbull. His murder by an IRA bomb in 1979, which also killed another grandmother of Amanda as well as her younger brother caused her to recoil at the prospect of marrying into the royal family . She refused Charles subsequent proposal and he married his much more distant relative Diana.


    The 3rd Duke of Devonshire.
    • Charles and Diana's most recent common ancestor was William Cavendish, 3rd Duke of Devonshire and his wife, who died in the last half of the 18th century. Since they both had well documented pedigrees, they have hundreds of known ancestors in common before that time.


    • Charles and Camilla's most recent common ancestor is James I who died in 1625.


    • Kate Middleton may be a descendant of Mary Boleyn via her daughter, Catherine Carey. Kate Middleton’s 7Xgreat-grandfather William Davenport (d. 1723) may be a son born in 1679 to Henry Davenport of Hollon. If this relationship probes accurate (DNA confirmation may be required)then Kate is descended from Mary Boleyn. Prince William of Wales is also descended from Mary Boleyn via both her son Henry Carey, 1st Baron Hunsdon and her daughter. Both of Mary Boleyn's children are rumored to be the illegitimate children of Henry VIII.


    • Prince Arthur of Connaught was a first cousin to George V. He married his first cousin once removed, Princess Alexandra, Duchess of Fife on 15 October 1913, and the couple had a son, Alistair, 9.8 months later. Alistair was born 9th in line to the throne and died 12th in line in 1943. He is the last child born to a couple consisting of first cousins once removed in the British royal family.


    Europe

    The royal couples listed here are but a small representation of the innumerable cousins of varying degrees who have married between royal or noble houses.




    Outside Europe



    Notable individuals



    A B C D
    • Charles Darwin and his first cousin, Emma Wedgwood. In addition, their grandparents, Sarah Wedgewood and Josiah Wedgwood, were also cousins.
    • Porfirio Diaz Mori, president of Mexico (1876–80, 1884–1911), and his niece Delfina Ortega Diaz
    • Alfred I. du Pont, great-grandson of DuPont founder and his cousin-by-marriage, Bessie Gardner, as well as his second cousin, Alicia Bradford Maddox
    E F G H
    • Benjamin Harrison V, American revolutionary leader, and his second cousin, Elizabeth Bassett
    • Alexander Herzen, Russian writer and political activist, and his cousin, Natalya Zakharina.
    • Klara Hitler, daughter of Johann Pölzl and Johanna Hiedler. Either her grandfather Johann Nepomuk Hiedler or his brother was likely her husband Alois Hitler's biological father. Moreover, Johann was her future husband's step-uncle. Even after they were married, Klara still called her husband "Uncle". [533547] [533548]
    • Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., the poet, and his second cousin, Amelia Lee Jackson
    • Stephen Hopkins, signer of the Declaration of Independence, and his second cousin, Sarah Scott
    J K L M
    • John A. Macdonald, first prime minister of Canada, and his first cousin, Isabella Clark
    • Maeda Toshiie, Japanese Daimyō in 15th century, and his cousin, Matsu.
    • Thomas Malthus, British academic, and his first cousin once removed, Harriet Eckersall
    • Delarivier Manley, British playwright and political satirist, and her first cousin John Manley
    • Francis Marion, American revolutionary leader also called the "Swamp Fox," and his first cousin, Mary Esther Videau
    • Abraham Maslow, father of humanistic psychology, and his first cousin, Bertha Goodman
    • Richard von Metternich (son of the famous Austrian Chancellor) and his niece, Pauline von Metternich.
    • Mōri Terumoto, Japanese Daimyo in late 15th and early 16th century, and his cousin (first wife), Minami no Kata.
    • Samuel Eliot Morison, historian, and his first cousin once removed, Agnes Priscilla Randolph Barton
    • Samuel F. B. Morse, inventor of the Morse code, and his first cousin once removed, Sarah Elizabeth Griswold, his second wife
    N O P R S T V W
    • H. G. Wells, author, and his first cousin, Isabel Mary Wells (first wife)
    • William Whipple, signer of the Declaration of Independence, and his first cousin, Catherine Moffatt


    See also



    References

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