Centuries Before Meghan Markle, Was Queen Charlotte Britain’s First Multiracial Royal? (2023)

One historian traced Queen Charlotte's ancestry to a Moorish mistress through six different bloodlines.

Queen Charlotte was a queen of all trades — a botanist, lover of music and the arts, and a founder of many orphanages — but the most intriguing part of her story is her much-scrutinized bloodline.

Centuries Before Meghan Markle, Was Queen Charlotte Britain’s First Multiracial Royal? (1)

Wikimedia CommonsThe queen’s portrait by Allan Ramsay, who was a known abolitionist.

Some historians believe she possessed African ancestry, descended from a Portuguese royal and his Moorish mistress. If true, it would make Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, the mother of two British kings and the grandmother of Queen Victoria, the British Royal Family’s first multiracial member.

From Princess Sophia To Queen Charlotte

Queen Charlotte was born a German princess far away from the British crown. She came into the world on May 19, 1744, as Sophia Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, a northern German territory that at the time was part of the Holy Roman Empire.

In 1761, when she turned 17, Princess Sophia was betrothed — rather unexpectedly — to the King of England, George III. Her brother Adolf Frederick IV, who assumed their late father’s position as Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, signed off on Charlotte’s marriage contract with the British king.

Centuries Before Meghan Markle, Was Queen Charlotte Britain’s First Multiracial Royal? (2)

Wikimedia CommonsBefore she became queen of England, she was princess of a tiny German municipality known as Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

While the couple had never before met, Princess Sophia was deemed to be the perfect match for the British heir.

She was well-educated and of suitable stock, and the relative insignificance of her home territory indicated she was probably uninterested in engaging in British affairs. In fact, one of the conditions stated in their royal marriage contract was that she was to never ever meddle in politics.

After three days of celebrations, Princess Sophia departed Germany escorted by the Earl of Harcourt, the head of the royal delegation that had been sent to bring the new queen to England. The vessel carrying the royal party was ceremoniously renamed The Royal Charlotte in her honor and set sail across the seas.

Centuries Before Meghan Markle, Was Queen Charlotte Britain’s First Multiracial Royal? (3)

King George III was 22 when he chose to marry Sophia Charlotte, who was 17 at the time.

After a nine-day voyage plagued by bad weather, Princess Sophia’s ship finally arrived in London on Sept. 8, 1761, and suddenly the once-obscure princess was on all of England’s minds and lips.

“The date of my promise is now arrived, and I fulfill it — fulfill it with great satisfaction, for the Queen is come,” wrote politician Horace Walpole in a letter describing Charlotte’s arrival in London. “In half an hour, one heard of nothing but proclamations of her beauty: everybody was content, everybody pleased.”

(Video) The history behind mixed-race British Queen Charlotte, now featured in the Netflix hit Bridgerton

She and George III — who had never met before then — were wed that same night at St James’s Palace; he was 22 and she was 17.

Centuries Before Meghan Markle, Was Queen Charlotte Britain’s First Multiracial Royal? (4)

New York Public LibraryQueen Charlotte was interested in various subjects, particularly the arts, botany, and philanthropy.

After the royal coronation a few weeks later, Princess Sophia officially became Queen Charlotte. Eager to assume her royal duties, Queen Charlotte, who spoke French and German, threw herself into studying English. She hired both German and English staff for her ladies-in-waiting cohort and even adopted the very English tradition of drinking tea.

But her good intentions were not received kindly by some in the royal court, particularly by her own mother-in-law, Princess Augusta, who continuously tried to overpower Queen Charlotte’s status as the queen mother.

On August 12, 1762, less than a year after her marriage to the king, Queen Charlotte gave birth to their first child, George the Prince of Wales. Her first son would later become King George IV and was said to be Queen Charlotte’s favorite among her 15 children — 13 of which miraculously survived into adulthood.

Centuries Before Meghan Markle, Was Queen Charlotte Britain’s First Multiracial Royal? (5)

Wikimedia CommonsQueen Charlotte with her two eldest children. Later, 13 out of the 15 children she birthed would survive into adulthood.

Although the queen dutifully carried out her obligation to bear heirs to the royal throne, being constantly pregnant for almost 20 years of her life did take its toll. She kept mum about her feelings in public but shared them privately with her closest confidants.

“I don’t think a prisoner could wish more ardently for his liberty than I wish to be rid of my burden and see the end of my campaign. I would be happy if I knew this was the last time,” she wrote in a 1780 letter while pregnant with her 14th child, Prince Alfred.

Regardless of the pains of motherhood, Queen Charlotte’s arranged marriage to King George III is heralded as a success story by historians because of the couple’s obvious affection for each other — evidenced by letters exchanged between the couple during their rare moments of separation. Take, for instance, this April 26, 1778 letter she wrote to her husband nearly 17 years into their marriage:

You will have the benefit by Your voyages to put Spirit in every Body, to be more known by the World, and if Possible more beloved by the People in general. That must be the case, but not equal to the love of her who subscribes herself Your very Affectionate Friend and Wife Charlotte

A Patron Of The Arts, Science, And Philanthropy

Centuries Before Meghan Markle, Was Queen Charlotte Britain’s First Multiracial Royal? (6)

Wikimedia CommonsThe king and queen with their children.

In 1762, King George III and Queen Charlotte moved into a property that the king had recently acquired called Buckingham House. It was comfortable and spacious, meant as a getaway spot for his queen. All her children except her first son were born at the estate, later affectionately known as “The Queen’s House.” Today, the expanded-upon house is Buckingham Palace, the royal residence of the Queen of England.

(Video) Before Meghan Markle. Who is black Queen Charlotte?

While Queen Charlotte may have endeavored to keep her nose out of royal matters as best as she could, there was no denying her intelligence and interest in European affairs. She mostly shared her thoughts with her beloved brother, the Grand Duke Charles II.

Centuries Before Meghan Markle, Was Queen Charlotte Britain’s First Multiracial Royal? (7)

Wikimedia CommonsQueen Charlotte was particularly fond of her eldest offspring, George IV, who became king after his father’s death.

Queen Charlotte wrote to the duke about developments from the empire’s American colonies, which had begun to revolt under her husband’s reign:

“Dearest brother and friend…About America I know nothing, we are still where we were before, that means, without news; the whole affair is so interesting that it has taken hold of me entirely. To give you an idea of the stubbornness of these people and the degree of their spirit of rebellion, one need no other example to make a point than the Quakers of Pensilvania. They fell in with the party, they are also without arms & like their religion object to sermons, & consequently to submitting to any law. They have no leader, but their military course and their actions are ruled by inspiration as in their private lives.”

She was very fond of her younger brother and wrote more than 400 letters to him in which she conveyed her musings about British politics and other intimate aspects of her life in the palace.

Besides politics, both wife and husband had an affinity for plants. The palace grounds of St. James’s Palace, which was the official residence of the king and queen at the time, resembled farmland, as they were constantly covered in vegetable plots.

Centuries Before Meghan Markle, Was Queen Charlotte Britain’s First Multiracial Royal? (8)

Wikimedia CommonsQueen Charlotte’s son, William IV, would also later assume Britain’s throne after his older brother’s death.

Queen Charlotte’s fondness for flora became known to many of her famous explorer subjects, such as Captain James Cook, who showered her with gifts of exotic plants which she placed in her gardens at Kew Palace.

Queen Charlotte was also a patron of the arts and had a soft spot for German composers like Handel and Johann Sebastian Bach. The queen’s music-master was Johann Christian Bach, the eleventh son of the great composer. She is also credited with the discovery of another young artist, an eight-year-old Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, whom she welcomed into the palace during his family’s visit to England from 1764 to 1765.

Later, Mozart dedicated his Opus 3 to Queen Charlotte, with the following note:

“Filled with pride and joy at daring to offer you a tribute, I was finishing up these sonatas to be laid at the feet of your Majesty; I was, I confess, drunk with vanity and thrilled with myself, when I spied the Genius of Music at my side.”

She shared her love of the arts with another notorious queen, Marie Antoinette of France. The French queen confided in Queen Charlotte about the turmoil of her French court as the French Revolution began. The sympathetic Queen Charlotte even prepared rooms for the French monarchs to come to Britain but Marie Antoinette’s journey never materialized.

Centuries Before Meghan Markle, Was Queen Charlotte Britain’s First Multiracial Royal? (9)

(Video) Was Queen Charlotte Britain's First Black Royal?

Royal Collection TrustQueen Charlotte’s journals.

Most importantly, though, was the queen’s special interest in giving back to the needy. Queen Charlotte founded many orphanages and, in 1809, became the patron of London’s General Lying-in Hospital, one of Britain’s first maternity hospitals. The hospital was later renamed the Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea Hospital in honor of the queen’s continued support.

Indeed, Queen Charlotte’s influence was greater than the attention the history books give her name, evidenced by her legacy which can be found in place and street names across North America. Among them are Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, as well as the city of Charlotte in North Carolina, which boasts the nickname the “Queen’s City.”

“We think [Queen Charlotte] speaks to us on lots of levels,” said Cheryl Palmer, educational director of Charlotte, North Carolina’s Mint Museum. “As a woman, an immigrant, a person who may have had African forebears, botanist, a queen who opposed slavery — she speaks to Americans, especially in a city in the south like Charlotte that is trying to redefine itself.”

Was Queen Charlotte The First Black Queen?

Centuries Before Meghan Markle, Was Queen Charlotte Britain’s First Multiracial Royal? (10)

Wikimedia CommonsSome historians believe that certain artists whitewashed their portraits of Queen Charlotte to comply with beauty standards of the time.

It’s no secret that European royals, including those who ruled over Great Britain and especially those in the 18th century and earlier, attempted to protect their royal “purity” by only marrying other royals. Which is why Queen Charlotte’s ancestry has piqued so much interest.

According to historian Mario de Valdes y Cocom — who dug into the queen’s lineage for a 1996 Frontline documentary on PBS — Queen Charlotte could trace her lineage back to Black members of the Portuguese royal family. De Valdes y Cocom believes that Queen Charlotte, known as a German princess, was actually directly related to Margarita de Castro y Sousa, a 15th-century Portuguese noblewoman nine generations removed.

Margarita de Castro e Souza herself descended from King Alfonso III of Portugal and his concubine, Madragana, a Moor that Alfonso III took as his lover after conquering the town of Faro in southern Portugal.

This would make Queen Charlotte a whopping 15 generations removed from her closest Black ancestor — if Madragana was even Black, which historians don’t know. Although, de Valdes y Cocom has said that, due to centuries-long inbreeding, he could trace six lines between Queen Charlotte and Sousa.

But according to Ania Loomba, a professor of race and colonialism at the University of Pennsylvania, the term “Blackamoor” was mainly used to describe Muslims.

“It didn’t mean black necessarily,” Loomba explained.

But even though Queen Charlotte may not have possessed close genealogical ties to Africa, she may have still been perceived as a descendant of African people.

Centuries Before Meghan Markle, Was Queen Charlotte Britain’s First Multiracial Royal? (11)

Wikimedia CommonsAllan Ramsay’s portraits of Queen Charlotte may have been the most realistic, accentuating her non-lily-white features.

Baron Christian Friedrich Stockmar, the royal physician, described Charlotte as “small and crooked, with a true Mulatto face.” There was also the unflattering description by Sir Walter Scott, who wrote that she was “ill-colored.” One prime minister even went as far as saying that her nose was “too wide” and her lips “too thick.”

(Video) Black Queen Charlotte Revisited

Supporters of this theory also point to the royal portraits of the queen, some of which depict her African features quite strongly. Queen Charlotte’s most striking likenesses were painted by Allan Ramsay, a prominent artist and staunch abolitionist.

Desmond Shawe-Taylor, a surveyor of the Queen’s pictures, believes that the theory of Queen Charlotte’s ancestry isn’t supported by Ramsay’s portraits.

“I can’t see it to be honest,” Shawe-Taylor said. He added that most portraits of the queen depict her as your typical light-skinned royal with no inkling of African blood.

“None of them shows her as African, and you’d suspect they would if she was visibly of African descent. You’d expect they would have a field day if she was,” Shawe-Taylor argued.

But that reasoning is also questionable, given that painters didn’t always truthfully depict their royal subjects back in the 18th century and prior. Indeed, artists typically erased features that were deemed undesirable at the time. As African people were associated with slavery, painting Britain’s queen as someone from Africa would have been taboo.

De Valdes y Cocom says the case is different with Ramsay. Because Ramsay was known to paint with more accuracy than most artists and he was a supporter of abolishing slavery, de Valdes y Cocom suggests that the artist would not have suppressed any “African characteristics” of Queen Charlotte — instead he might have actually emphasized them for political reasons.

Centuries Before Meghan Markle, Was Queen Charlotte Britain’s First Multiracial Royal? (12)

GeographMany places in the United States have been named in honor of Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

The topic of race is always a sensitive one, even when it is a discussion grounded in historical reality. Given the British empire’s colonial history, having a royal member of African ancestry would be a stunning revelation. But also, not so impossible.

That discovery carries political weight and is, perhaps, an uncomfortable reminder to some of the destructive colonialism that was necessary to build the British empire. Maybe that is why many British historians remain reluctant to embrace the theory of a queen with African lineage.

But while some historians contend that Queen Charlotte’s heritage isn’t important even if she did have African lineage, there is no denying the significance of what that lineage would symbolize. For centuries, slavery was the law of the land in Britain and its colonies. And many of the enslaved were African or descendants of Africans.

Centuries Before Meghan Markle, Was Queen Charlotte Britain’s First Multiracial Royal? (13)

Wikimedia CommonsCharlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz was the longest-serving queen consort of Great Britain and Ireland after five decades.

The concept of Charlotte as Britain’s “Black Queen” has been the focus of numerous projects by Black artists, as well as others like U.S.-based artist Ken Aptekar.

“I took my cues from the passionate responses of individuals whom I asked to help me understand what Queen Charlotte represents to them,” he said.

Unfortunately, Queen Charlotte’s life’s end was far from blissful. After the onset of George III’s permanent “madness” in 1811, she grew temperamental — likely from the stress of her husband’s un-diagnosed mental condition — and even fought publicly with her son over her right to the crown.

(Video) QUEEN CHARLOTTE in Real Life: Recreating her Portraits + Family Tree- Mortal Faces

The queen died on Nov. 17, 1818, and was buried at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle. She was the longest-serving royal consort in British history, having served in that position for more than 50 years.

Now that you’ve learned about Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and her disputed lineage, read about another famous queen, Mary, Queen of Scots. Then, learn how King Henry VI’s courtiers helped him and his wife, Queen Margaret, have sex and procreate.

FAQs

What ethnicity is the British royal family? ›

Europe's royal houses have shared close family ties for centuries. The British royals have more German roots than you might think. About 300 years ago, on August 1, 1714 — the English Queen Anne died. As a result, the German Elector George Louis of Hanover was proclaimed king of Great Britain in absentia.

Who was the first person in the royal family? ›

King George V, born in 1865, was the first monarch of the House of Windsor.

What race is Meghan Prince Harry's wife? ›

She identifies as mixed race, often answering questions about her background with "My dad is Caucasian and my mom is African American. I'm half black and half white." Her parents separated when she was two years old and divorced four years later. She has a close relationship with her mother.

Which queen had 15 children? ›

Queen Charlotte was wife to King George III. They shared a happy life together, producing 15 children until their lives were changed and saddened by the King's devastating mental illness.

Are all English people descended from royalty? ›

Some experts believe that practically everyone alive with British ancestry will have a connection with this king. So statistically, there is a good chance that you are descended from royalty.

Why is the British royal family so German? ›

The German-English royal house

This was because the British Queen Victoria, who belonged to the House of Hanover, had married the German Prince Albert from the noble family of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in the 19th century. It was his name that was passed on to their joint children.

Who raised Meghan Markle? ›

She and Tom Markle divorced when their daughter was six years old, but the marriage reportedly ended amicably. Meghan, who is Doria's only child, primarily lived with her mother after her parents' split, but saw her father regularly. By all accounts, Meghan and her mom appear to have an incredibly close relationship.

Is Meghan Markle a princess or just a Duchess? ›

Yes, Meghan is technically a Princess of the United Kingdom. This was listed on her son Archie's birth certificate. However, she is a princess by marriage not birth – therefore she doesn't officially have 'Princess' before her first name.

How closely related are Harry and Meghan? ›

They're distant cousins, related through Meghan's father Thomas and Harry's great-granny, the Queen Mother, reports the Mail on Sunday. The families share a common ancestor, Ralph Bowes, a High Sheriff of County Durham in England in the 15th century.

Were King George and Queen Charlotte in love? ›

Queen Charlotte and King George III were truly in love.

Until the day she died in 1818, she remained her husband's guardian.

Which Queen in history had the most children? ›

The queen regnant with the most children was Queen Victoria who had 9 children of whom all reached adulthood.

How old was the Queen when she was pregnant with her last child? ›

Their youngest child, Prince Edward (Edward Antony Richard Louis), was born on 10 March 1964, and the Queen was 37. Queen Elizabeth II had eight grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren at the time of her death.

Which English prince married a black woman? ›

As George's wife, she was also Electress of Hanover until becoming Queen of Hanover on 12 October 1814, when the electorate became a kingdom. Charlotte was Britain's longest-serving queen consort.
...
Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
SpouseGeorge III ​ ( m. 1761)​
14 more rows

Who was the first royal to get a divorce? ›

KING HENRY VIII & KATHERINE OF ARAGON

Theirs was the original royal divorce: King Henry VIII famously split with the Catholic church in 1534 in order to divorce the first of his six wives, Katherine of Aragon, who had not become pregnant with a male heir throughout their marriage.

Who was the first royal blood in England? ›

1. Who was the earliest king of England? The first king of all of England was Athelstan (895-939 AD) of the House of Wessex, grandson of Alfred the Great and 30th great-granduncle to Queen Elizabeth II. The Anglo-Saxon king defeated the last of the Viking invaders and consolidated Britain, ruling from 925-939 AD.

What race spoke English first? ›

The earliest forms of English, collectively known as Old English, evolved from a group of West Germanic (Ingvaeonic) dialects brought to Great Britain by Anglo-Saxon settlers in the 5th century and further mutated by Norse-speaking Viking settlers starting in the 8th and 9th centuries.

Who are most British people descended from? ›

Modern Britons are descended mainly from the varied ethnic groups that settled in Great Britain in and before the 11th century: Prehistoric, Brittonic, Roman, Anglo-Saxon, Norse, and Normans.

What color is royal blood? ›

The term “blue blood” has been used since 1811 to describe royal families and the nobility. Having pale skin was once a sign of higher social standing, showing the royalty and nobility did not need to spend their time outside with the likes of the working class, such as farmers.

Do the English have German blood? ›

The analysis shows that the Anglo-Saxons were the only conquering force, around 400-500 AD, to substantially alter the country's genetic makeup, with most white British people now owing almost 30% of their DNA to the ancestors of modern-day Germans.

Are the Windsors British or German? ›

There have been five British monarchs of the House of Windsor since then: George V, Edward VIII, George VI, Elizabeth II, and Charles III.

Does the British royal family have German blood? ›

Both parents share Queen Victoria as a great-great-grandmother (which means they are distant cousins). Queen Victoria's mother, the duchess of Kent, was born in Germany; Queen Victoria's husband was German-born Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. Hence the German ancestral connection.

Why did Harry Meghan leave royal family? ›

That toxic dynamic, according to Harry, catalyzed their departure: The Sussexes were crumbling under incessant negative media coverage that included an intimate letter between Meghan and her estranged father published in The Daily Mail. (The duchess even began to have suicidal thoughts.)

How did Meghan Markle get her money? ›

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan no longer receive money from the Royal Family, and earn their income from commercial arrangements.

How did Meghan Markle get rich? ›

Royal Inheritance

After stepping down as working royals, Harry and Markle largely relied on Harry's inheritance from his late mother, Princess Diana, estimated at $10 million.

Can Meghan ever be a princess? ›

Meghan Markle is not only a duchess, but also a princess — and royal experts say that won't change thanks to Prince Harry. Meghan Markle became a Princess of the United Kingdom upon marrying Prince Harry in 2018. She is still considered a princess after stepping back from royal duties and moving to the US.

Can Meghan Markle still be called Duchess? ›

While they are no longer working members of the royal family, Prince Harry and the former Meghan Markle still hold the royal titles of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, which were bestowed upon them when they married in 2018.

Does Harry still have a royal title? ›

Prince Harry says there's no need for him and Meghan Markle to give up their noble names as Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Though the couple announced their decision to step back from their duties as working royals in early 2020, Harry and Meghan have since retained their titles.

Were Charles and Diana related? ›

William and Kate are 14th cousins, Charles and Diana were 16th cousins, and even Harry and Meghan share a 15th century relative – according to some experts, anyway.

How do you know if you have royal blood? ›

To find out if your family has royal ties, compare your family tree with the royal family tree. If you find any surnames in common, try to find a connection by comparing historical documents. Even if you don't find a verifiable connection, you'll gain an invaluable connection to your ancestors along the way.

Is Kate related to William? ›

Catherine, Princess of Wales GCVO (born Catherine Elizabeth Middleton; 9 January 1982) is a member of the British royal family. She is married to William, Prince of Wales, heir apparent to the British throne, making Catherine the likely next queen consort. Born in Reading, Catherine grew up in Bucklebury, Berkshire.

Does Princess Charlotte look like Queen Elizabeth as a child? ›

ICYMI: When Princess Charlotte turned 6 on May 2, 2021, the royal family celebrated with a new photo of the young royal.

Who was King George's favorite daughter? ›

Princess Amelia (1783-1810) was the youngest daughter of George III. The six daughters in the family lived secluded lives and their parents were reluctant to allow them to marry. Princess Amelia, the King's favourite daughter, suffered from poor health and from the age of 15 it became clear that she had tuberculosis.

What do George and Charlotte call the Queen? ›

In an interview to celebrate the Queen's 90th birthday in 2016, the Duchess of Cambridge revealed: “George is only two-and-a-half and he calls her Gan-Gan.”

Who fathered the most children in history? ›

The man who is thought to have fathered the most children of all time is Moroccan Sultan Ismail Ibn Sharif (1645 to 1727) with a total of more than 1,000, according to Guinness World Records.

What is the most babies born at once naturally? ›

Multiple births of as many as eight babies have been born alive, the first surviving set on record goes to the Suleman octuplets, born in 2009 in Bellflower, California. As of 2019, all of them were alive and turned 10 years old.

Which queen of England had no children? ›

William and Mary had no children. After Mary's death in 1694, William reigned alone until his own death in 1702, when Anne succeeded him.
...
Anne, Queen of Great Britain.
Anne
Portrait by Michael Dahl, 1705
Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland (more...)
Reign8 March 1702 – 1 May 1707
Coronation23 April 1702 4 May 1702 (New Style)
15 more rows

How did the Queen give birth while sleeping? ›

The monarch was reportedly put into a state called 'twilight sleep' during labour, where she was given an anaesthetic and the baby born using forceps. The controversial technique is no longer used today. Indeed, when Her Majesty welcomed her fourth child, Prince Edward, she chose another method of delivery.

Who is Queen Elizabeth's favorite child? ›

The Crown says Andrew was her favourite

However, in one episode, the Queen reveals that her favourite child is Prince Andrew, and many have always speculated this is true in real life.

Why isn t Princess Anne in line for the throne? ›

The queen had four children: Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward. Although Anne is older than two of her brothers, she is farther down the line of succession because of an old law that allowed men to skip over women in the line.

Is the royal family actually German? ›

The House of Windsor as we know it today began in 1917 when the family changed its name from the German “Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.” King Charles's great-grandfather, King George V, was the first Windsor monarch, and today's working royals are the descendants of King George and his wife, Queen Mary.

Are the British royal family Vikings? ›

Yes, the British royal family descends from Vikings. Descent of Elizabeth II from William the Conqueror shows the direct senior royal line which begins with William I also known as William The Conqueror.

Who are the British descendants of? ›

Modern Britons are descended mainly from the varied ethnic groups that settled in Great Britain in and before the 11th century: Prehistoric, Brittonic, Roman, Anglo-Saxon, Norse, and Normans.

Is the British royal family Anglo-Saxon? ›

The British monarchy traces its origins from the petty kingdoms of Anglo-Saxon England and early medieval Scotland, which consolidated into the kingdoms of England and Scotland by the 10th century. England was conquered by the Normans in 1066, after which Wales also gradually came under the control of Anglo-Normans.

When did the royal family stop being German? ›

On June 19, 1917, during the third year of World War I, Britain's King George V orders the British royal family to dispense with the use of German titles and surnames, changing the surname of his own family, the decidedly Germanic Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, to Windsor.

Do the royal family still speak German? ›

German is another language spoken by many of the Royal Family. Prince Harry spoke some German in Düsseldorf earlier this year, admitting that he wishes he spoke the language as well as Prince Phillip.

Is there any German Royal Family left? ›

When the Weimar Constitution entered into force on August 14, 1919, the legal privileges and titles of German nobility were abolished. Therefore, officially, there are no princes and princesses in Germany.

How far back can Queen Elizabeth trace her bloodline? ›

How far does Queen Elizabeth's bloodline go? The bloodline of the current royal family can be traced back some 1,209 years! This covers 37 generations and goes all the way back to the 9th century.

Are there still Viking descendants in England? ›

We can also begin to infer the physical appearance of ancient Vikings and compare them to Scandinavians today.” The genetic legacy of the Viking Age lives on today with six per cent of people of the UK population predicted to have Viking DNA in their genes compared to 10 per cent in Sweden.

Is Queen Elizabeth a Viking descendant? ›

Queen Elizabeth (the daughter of King George VI) and King Harald of Norway (the son of Crown Prince Olav) are second cousins. As Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip are themselves third cousins, and Prince Philip is also a direct descendent of Queen Victoria, King Harald is also independently related to him.

Are English and Irish the same race? ›

Historians teach that they are mostly descended from different peoples: the Irish from the Celts, and the English from the Anglo-Saxons who invaded from northern Europe and drove the Celts to the country's western and northern fringes.

What part of England has the most Viking DNA? ›

According to the DNA tests, Scotland – heavily populated by Norsemen in the Viking age – has the highest proportion of descendants; the next biggest population is in the North; and the incidence of Viking blood decreases the further south you go.

Are all Americans descended from British? ›

English Americans (historically known as Anglo-Americans) are Americans whose ancestry originates wholly or partly in England. In the 2020 American Community Survey, 25.21 million self-identified as being of English origin.
...
Number of English Americans.
Results per U.S. census
YearPopulationPercent
202025,213,6197.72
5 more rows

How much English DNA is Anglo-Saxon? ›

The bodies, seven Anglo-Saxons and three preinvasion peoples, were buried near Cambridge, U.K., between about 100 B.C.E and 800 C.E. Writing in Nature Communications, the researchers report that 38% of the ancestors of people from the eastern United Kingdom were Anglo-Saxons.

How much British DNA is Anglo-Saxon? ›

Researchers discovered that the Anglo-Saxon immigrants were genetically very similar to modern Dutch and Danish, and that they contributed 38 per cent of the DNA of modern people from East England, and 30 per cent for modern Welsh and Scottish.

How many British people are descended from royalty? ›

The English geneticist Professor Stephen Jones estimates that 25% of the British population is descended from the Plantagenets.

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