The Last Royal Couples

Prior to the 20th century, no member of the European royalty ever married a commoner, the monarchy rule is clear: any royal who will enter a morganatic (marrying a commoner) union will automatically disinherit him or her and lose his or her place in the line of succession, so arranged marriages between royalty became the common practice. But after World War II upon the collapse of most European royal houses supply of suitable consorts diminished ceasing this royal tradition, thus, allowing commoners to join the royal fold.

In present-day Europe, only the sovereigns of Great Britain and Spain married fellow royals and they are both great great grandchildren of Queen Victoria of England.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh

Britain's Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh Prince Philip wave to the crowd at The Forks in Winnipeg, Manitoba July 3, 2010. REUTERS/Fred Greenslade (CANADA - Tags: ROYALS POLITICS)
Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh

WINNIPEG, MB - JULY 03: Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh arrive through a terminal air-bridge from the Royal Plane at the new James Armstrong Richardson International airport on July 3, 2010 in Winnipeg, Canada. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh are on an eight day tour of Canada starting in Halifax and finishing in Toronto. The trip is to celebrate the centenary of the Canadian Navy and to mark Canada Day. On July 6th The royal couple will make their way to New York where the Queen will address the UN and visit Ground Zero. (Photo by Chris Jackson-Pool/Getty Images)
The former Greek Prince devoted all his life supporting his wife on various official engagements
HALIFAX, NS - JUNE 29: Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh leave HMCS St John's after the International Fleet Review on June 29, 2010 in Halifax, Canada. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh are on an eight day tour of Canada starting in Halifax and finishing in Toronto. The trip is to celebrate the centenary of the Canadian Navy and to mark Canada Day. On July 6th the royal couple will make their way to New York where the Queen will address the UN and visit Ground Zero. (Photo by Chris Jackson - Pool/Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh leave HMCS St John's after the International Fleet Review on June 29, 2010 in Halifax, Canada.

Queen Elizabeth II descended from Queen Victoria’s son, King Edward VII while the Duke of Edinburgh descended from Queen Victoria’s second daughter, Princess Alice who married the Grand Duke of Hesse-Cassel, Prince Louis. The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh are also second cousin once removed through King Christian IX of Denmark, Prince Philip’s grandfather, King George I of Greece and Queen Elizabeth’s great grandmother, Queen Alexandra (wife of King Edward VII) were children of the said Danish King. The current British Queen is the eldest daughter of King George VI and Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon the daughter of the 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorn, though this Scottish Earl was an aristocrat, his daughter did not inherit any title, thus, regarded a commoner. Queen Elizabeth II had only one sibling, Princess Margaret who died in 2002.

The Duke of Edinburgh was born Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark and was sixth in line of succession to the Greek throne. Both her parents descended from royalty. Philip’s mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg, was born in Windsor Castle in 1885 as an eldest child of Princess Victoria and Prince Louis of Battenberg who lived at the grace-and-favor apartment at Kensington Palace. In 1930 when the marriage of Prince Philip’s parents fell apart, he moved to England to live with his grandmother. Philip’s father was Prince Andrew, the fourth son of King George I of Greece and Queen Olga (granddaughter of Emperor Nicholas I of Russia). Most of his relatives married into the European royalty. His maternal aunt, Louise, married the King of Sweden, Adolf VI, his paternal aunt, Princess Elisabeth, married the King of Romania, Carol II, his first cousin Princess Alexandra married King Peter I of Yoguslavia while another cousin, Princess Marina married Prince George, the Duke of Kent (paternal uncle of Queen Elizabeth II). All Philip’s four elder sisters married German Princes.

Prince Philip was advised to renounce his place in the Greek throne to become a British subject, the Prince obliged and took the name Philip Mountbatten (his grandfather, Prince Louis of Battenberg was forced to relinquish his Princely title in 1917 because of the anti-German sentiments in England, so his cousin King George V made him a British Marquess and anglicized his surname from Battenberg to Mountbatten). By the time he and Princess Elizabeth married in November 20, 1947, Philip rose to rank of a Lieutenant in the British Royal Navy. A night before their marriage, his father-in-law, King George VI, created him a British duke with titles Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Marioneth and Baron Greenwhich, the King also made him Noble Order of the Garter, the highest accolade of chivalry in Great Britain. Philip and Elizabeth have five children: Prince Charles the Prince of Wales, Princess Anne the Princess Royal, Prince Andrew the Duke of York and Prince Edward the Earl of Wessex (his father's successor as Duke of Edinburgh). With the exception of the Earl of Wessex, all marriages of the three siblings ended in divorce.

King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia

MADRID, SPAIN - JUNE 15: King Juan Carlos of Spain and Queen Sofia of Spain attend 'Toison de Oro' ceremony at the Zarzuela Palace on June 15, 2010 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images)
His Majesty, King Juan Carlos and Her Majesty, Queen Sofia of Spain

CAPTION CORRECTION - CORRECTING YEAR PICTURE WAS RELEASED Spain's King Juan Carlos (L) and Queen Sofia pose in evening wear for their new official portraits in this handout picture released by the Spanish Royal House in 2007. REUTERS/Dany Virgili/Spanish Royal House/Handout (SPAIN - Tags: ROYALS PROFILE) NO COMMERCIAL OR BOOK SALES. NO ARCHIVES. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS
The King and Queen of Spain, both great great grandchildren of Queen Victoria of England

PALMA DE MALLORCA, SPAIN - APRIL 04: Spanish Royals (L to R) Princess Letizia, Princess Sofia, Queen Sofia, Princess Leonor, Prince Felipe and King Juan Carlos attend Easter Mass at Palma de Mallorca Cathedral, on April 4, 2010 in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. (Photo by Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images)
With the heir-apparent, Prince Felipe, his wife Princess Letizia and children Infantas Eleanor and Sofia

King Juan Carlos descended from Queen Victoria’s youngest child, Princess Beatrice who married Prince Henry of Battenberg, the younger brother of Prince Philip’s grandfather, Prince Louis of Battenberg, while Queen Sofia descended from Queen Victoria’s eldest child, Princess Vicky who married the German Emperor, Frederick III.  Vicky’s daughter, Princess Sophia, married King Constantine I of Greece (paternal uncle of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh). Both the King and Queen Sofia had a distinguished royal heritage. Juan Carlos’ parents were Prince Juan, the fourth son of King Alfonso XIII (the last Spanish King before Francisco Franco governed Spain) and Queen Eugenie (Princess Beatrice’s daughter). Prince Juan married Princess Maria of the two Sicilies, a direct descendant of the Bourbon Kings of France.

Queen Sofia is the eldest child of King Paul of Greece (son of Princess Sophia and King Constantine) and Queen Frederica, also a granddaughter of Emperor William II of Germany (Princess Sophia’s brother). The Queen has two siblings, the deposed King of Greece, Constantine II (his wife is Princess Anna Marie, youngest sister of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark) and Princess Irene who was once considered a possible wife of King Harald V of Norway, but the Norwegian King chose to marry Sonja Haraldsen, a commoner Norwegian college graduate, disappointing all his royal relatives. King Harald V is the great grandson of Queen Maud, youngest child of King Edward VII of England, Maud’s husband, King Haakon VII, was the grandson of King Christian IX of Denmark. Princess Irene (born 1938) however did not marry and lived in Zarzuela Palace in Spain.

King Juan Carlos had never expected to ascend the Spanish throne. After the deposition of his grandfather, Alfonso XIII during the Spanish Civil War, the country was put under the dictator government of Francisco Franco. The royal family was exiled in Italy, and Alfonso’s children, most of them were suffering from Hemophilia, a blood disease started in the line of Queen Victoria, were disinterested to press their claim on the lost crown. But Alfonso’s fourth son, Prince Juan, determined to secure the crown to his family, started negotiating with Franco, eventually the latter yielded declaring to restore the monarchy after his death and naming Prince Juan as the next King of Spain, but the Prince declined giving the throne to his only son, Juan Carlos. In 1972 after the death of Francisco Franco, Juan Carlos ascended the Spanish throne and moved with his family to Zarzuela Palace in Madrid. By then he was married to Princess Sophia of Greece and Denmark and had three children: Infanta Elena, Infanta Cristina and Infante Felipe who would become the Prince of Asturias on his father’s accession.


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