Guards rehearse ahead of Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral
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Members of the European royal families will be among the 2,000 guests at Westminster Abbey on Monday. Several royals have confirmed their attendance at the state funeral and have already paid tribute to the late Queen Elizabeth II. Her Majesty was well-respected among her European peers, with many of them descending from the same royal ancestors. Here, Express.co.uk delves into how the royals are related, untangling the web of monarchical connections.
King Philippe and Queen Mathilde will be representing Belgium at the funeral. Following Queen Elizabeth’s death, the household released a message saying: “We will always keep fond memories of this great Lady who, throughout her reign, showed dignity, courage and devotion. Each of our encounters will remain etched in our memories forever.”
Both Elizabeth and Philippe are descendants of Queen Victoria. Philippe’s ancestor is King Leopold I, the first King of the Belgians, who was Queen Victoria’s uncle, and Victoria was Elizabeth’s great-great-grandmother.
The British Queen last visited Belgium in 2007, when Philippe’s father, King Albert II, was the reigning monarch. Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philip were received by then-Prince Philippe and Princess Mathilde. Philippe met the monarch as King when he visited London in 2014. During her lifetime, the Queen met four Belgian monarchs: first Leopold III when he travelled to the UK in 1937, then King Baudouin during a visit to Belgium in 1966 and King Albert in 1998.
In 1993, Queen Elizabeth broke royal protocol by attending the funeral of King Baudouin; typically, the reigning monarch sends a representative in their place, instead of attending the funeral themselves.
Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II will be attending the funeral, just a week after celebrating the 50th anniversary of her own reign, along with her son Crown Prince Frederik.
Margrethe was a third cousin of Elizabeth and the two Queens were descendants of both Queen Victoria and King Christian IX of Denmark (Magrethe’s great-great-grandfather).
Victoria and Christian were nicknamed the grandmother and father-in-law of Europe, known for their matchmaking prowess and their ability to marry their descendants into other royal families across the continent.
Elizabeth was christened Elizabeth Alexandra Mary in honour of her grandmother, Queen Mary of Teck, and her great grandmother, Queen Alexandra of Denmark. Alexandra was a daughter of King Frederick VII of Denmark and in 1863 she married Prince Albert Edward, the Prince of Wales, who later became King Edward VII.
Margrethe and Elizabeth were known to be close, with the Danish Queen visiting her cousin and friend in London whenever possible.
Following Elizabeth’s death, Margrethe wrote a letter to King Charles III, which read: “Your mother was very important to me and my family. She was a towering figure among European monarchs and a great inspiration to us all.”
The Danish royal household also changed some of the plans for Margrethe’s Golden Jubilee celebrations the weekend after the death, including cancelling a military parade as a mark of respect.
The House of Liechtenstein dates back to the early 1600s, taking its name from the tiny principality of just 38,000 people over which it reigns. The royal household confined to Royal Central Prince Alois and his wife Princess Sophie will both be attending the funeral of Queen Elizabeth.
This confirmation was deemed “unusual” by the publication’s editor, Brittani Barger, who told Express.co.uk that the House of Liechtenstein does not typically verify royals’ plans to attend such events.
Prince Alois rules Liechtenstein jointly with his father, Hans-Adam II, Prince of Liechtenstein, who was an eighth cousin of the late Queen — both were descendants of Ludwig, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel. Prince Alois is therefore the ninth nephew of Queen Elizabeth II.
Interestingly, Princess Sophie — who was born into a Bavarian aristocratic family — can trace her ancestry back to Scotland’s Bonnie Prince Charlie, making her second-in-line to become the Jacobite Queen of England and Scotland. However, his descendants’ claim to the crown has been deemed “hypothetical” by Sophie’s uncle, who is first in line.
The Princely Family have chosen to keep their condolences to the British Queen private, according to Ms Barger.
Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa have a particularly special connection to the UK and will be representing Luxembourg at the state funeral.
Henri’s grandmother, Grand Duchess Charlotte, was exiled to London for two years after fleeing Luxembourg following the German Invasion during World War Two. Charlotte became a symbol of her country’s resistance during the war, having broadcast messages on the BBC. In 1964, she abdicated in favour of her son Jean, who then reigned until his abdication in 2000.
The current Grand Duke and Queen Elizabeth were both related to Britain’s King George II and Queen Caroline, who ruled in the mid-1700s. Both are descendants of Princess Carolina, the daughter of William IV, Prince of Orange and Anne, Princess Royal — King George and Queen Caroline’s daughter.
Elizabeth descends from Carolina’s daughter, Henriette of Nassau-Weilburg, who married Duke Louis of Württemberg; they were the great-grandparents of Mary of Teck, who married King George V, the current Queen’s grandfather.
Henri is also a descendant of Carolina through her eldest surviving son Frederick William, Prince of Nassau-Weilburg whose marriage to heiress Louise Isabelle of Kirchberg produced William, Duke of Nassau. His eldest son Adolphe, in turn, became the first independent Grand Duke of Luxembourg.
Following Queen Elizabeth’s death, Grand Duke Henri wrote to King Charles III, saying: “The Queen played a considerable part in shaping the history of the United Kingdom as its longest-serving monarch. We profoundly admired Her moral strength and determination. She was an exemplary monarch, most loved and respected by people all over the world.
“Luxembourg has never forgotten the extraordinary support the United Kingdom gave to Grand Duchess Charlotte and her son, my father Jean, during World War 2. Their safe haven in London helped to preserve the very existence of my country in those dark times.
“We are grateful for the close ties of our families and Her Majesty’s extraordinary and unique example of service to our country.”
Prince Albert II and his wife Princess Charlene will represent the Monégasque royal family on Monday.
The House of Grimaldi has ruled the Mediterranean principality for 700 years. During the 20th century, it was propelled onto the world stage when Albert’s father married Hollywood star Grace Kelly after meeting at the Cannes Film Festival. However, tragedy struck when Princess Grace died in a car crash in 1982.
Now Charlene — who Albert met at the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000, where she was a South African swimmer — upholds Monaco as a symbol of glittering and modern European royalty.
The Princess paid tribute to the late Queen on her personal Instagram, saying: “I am deeply saddened at the news of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, a truly great lady whose dedication and service was recognised throughout the world during the 70 years of her reign. Today, my thoughts are with her family, her children, her grandchildren, her great-grandchildren and the British people.”
Meanwhile, Albert, who is a relative of the Queen through her grandmother Queen Marry, wrote in a letter to King Charles: “Her Majesty’s unwavering commitment and dedication to duty during her reign have always been extremely inspiring. It will be long remembered and admired. “She truly represented the unity and dignity of the United Kingdom throughout the last seven decades.”
The connection between the House of Windsor and the House of Grimaldi is stretched, beginning in the 19th century when Albert I, Prince of Monaco married a British aristocrat called Lady Mary Victoria Hamilton, whose mother was a great-great-great-granddaughter of Jan Willem, Prince of Orange and distant cousin of Queen Mary.
The Dutch royal family are known to be close to their British counterparts, with both King Willem-Alexander and his mother and predecessor former Queen Beatrix (now styled as Princess Beatrix) sharing friendships with the late monarch. For this reason, Beatrix, Willem-Alexander and his wife Queen Máxima will be attending the funeral in London.
Queen Elizabeth II and King Willem-Alexander were fifth cousins — both are descendants of Princess Carolina, the daughter of King William IV.
Honouring the late monarch in a statement, the Dutch royals said: “We remember Queen Elizabeth II with deep respect and great affection. Steadfast and wise, she dedicated her long life to serving the British people.
“We feel a strong bond with the United Kingdom and its royal family, and we share their sorrow at this time. We are very grateful for our countries’ close friendship, to which Queen Elizabeth made such an unforgettable contribution.”
The Norwegian royals have some of the most enduring ties to Britain and its Royal Family. King Harald V, who will be attending the funeral with his wife Queen Sonja, was the late monarch’s second cousin.
Elizabeth and Harald shared the same great-grandparents, King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra, who were the father and mother of Norway’s own Queen Maud.
According to the Norwegian royal household, the two branches of the family were brought “even closer together” when Norway was occupied by Germany in 1940 and King Haakon and Crown Prince Olav (the current king’s grandfather and father) were forced to flee the country and live in exile in London.
As a young princess, Elizabeth would call King Haakon “Uncle Charles” and according to the Norwegian royal family, her eldest son King Charles was named after her “favourite” uncle — and she named Prince Charles after King Haakon.
In 1955, Elizabeth made her first visit to Noway as Queen, marking her first state visit to a country outside of the Commonwealth. She visited three times in total and was hosted by three generations of Norwegian kings.
was the first country outside the Commonwealth that Queen Elizabeth paid a state visit to, in 1955, and she visited three times in total, as the guest of three generations of Norwegian kings.
In a statement marking the Queen’s death, King Harald said:
“For nearly a century, Her Majesty devoted her life to the service of the Commonwealth, following the British people through good days and bad, in times of happiness and sorrow.”
King Felipe VI and his wife Queen Letizia of Spain are expected to attend the Queen’s funeral, as well as Felipe’s parents former King of Spain, Juan Carlos I, and his wife Queen Sofia. King Juan Carlos abdicated in favour of his son in 2014.
The Spanish royals share a close bond with the British Royal Family, with Felipe penning a heartfelt note to ‘Aunt Lilibet’ following the death of Prince Philip last year.
Felipe was the Queen’s third cousin — and affectionately called her “Auntie Lilibet” — while his father King Juan Carlos is the great-great-grandson of Queen Victoria. Directly descended from Edward VII, Queen Elizabeth was Victoria’s great-great-granddaughter.
In a telegram sent to Buckingham Palace, Felipe said the Queen’s “sense of duty, commitment and lifetime of service to the people of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland was an example to us all and will remain a strong and valuable legacy for future generations”.
Later, at an event in Seville this week, the King of Spain told the audience that it was not easy to convey faithfully “our deep personal, family and institutional feelings of loss at her absence and of immense respect for her”.
Established in 1818, the House of Bernadotte is one of Europe’s grandest royal families, and also among the most closely related to the British royals.
King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia confirmed their attendance at the funeral after releasing a heartfelt statement, which read: “She has always been dear to my family and a precious link in our shared family history.”
Both King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Elizabeth II shared the same great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria. The Swedish King is also the cousin of Queen Margrethe of Denmark as they both have the same grandfather, and the second cousin to King Harald V of Norway because Harald’s mother was born a Swedish princess.
The late Queen made two state visits to Sweden during her reign: the first in 1956 when she was received by King Gustaf VI Adolf and the last in 1983 when King Carl XVI Gustaf was her host.
Monday will see the biggest reunion of royals from across the globe in several years. All will come to mourn the loss of the world’s longest-reigning Queen.
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