The Exact Relationship between Elizabeth II and Elizabeth I

In recorded British and English history, there have been 8 women that occupied the highest role in the land. These 8 Queens are: Empress Matilda; Lady Jane Grey; Mary I (Mary Tudor, also known as Bloody Mary); Elizabeth I; Mary II; Queen Anne; Queen Victoria; and Elizabeth II. It would interest you to know that these women rulers, one way or the other, left a lasting mark on England and Great Britain. You could say that the achievements of some of these women rank as high as any of the best kings England and Great Britain has witnessed.

The two most foremost names that come to mind are Queen Elizabeth I and Queen Elizabeth II. The distance between these two monumental monarchs is a whopping 394 years (from 1558 to 1952). But have you ever wondered how the recently deceased monarch of Britain, Queen Elizabeth II (1926-2022), is related to Elizabeth I of England (1533-1603)?

The article below paints a clear picture of this relationship:

A Brief look at Queen Elizabeth I’s family and background

Elizabeth I versus Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth I’s family tree (image source)

Elizabeth I was crowned queen of England in 1558. This was after the death of her half-sister- Queen Mary I. Elizabeth’s parents were King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. Her family’s roots lie in the House of Tudor. The Tudors was a powerful ruling family in England. The first Tudor to rule England did so in the late 1400s. In the case of Elizabeth I, her grandfather was King Henry VII.

Based on the above explanation, this is how Elizabeth I’s family tree looked like in terms of those who became kings or queens:

  1. Henry VII
  2. Henry VIII
  3. Elizabeth I

The moment Elizabeth I passed away, the House of Tudor ceased to exist. Commonly called the “Virgin Queen”, Elizabeth I’s lack of any child meant that the crown passed to her first cousin two removed – James VI of Scotland.

Read More: Most Notable Accomplishments of Queen Elizabeth I, aka the Virgin Queen

A brief look at Queen Elizabeth II’s family and background

Queen Elizabeth II was born on April 21, 1926, to parents – King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. After the death of her father in 1952, Princess Elizabeth was crowned Queen Elizabeth II on June 2, 1953. Although Elizabeth II belongs to the House of Windsor, historical records show that her ancestors came from different houses. Let’s now trace Elizabeth II’s ancestral lineage.

  1. Henry VII
  2. Henry VIII
  3. Elizabeth I
  4. James VI and I (King of Scotland and England)
  5. Charles I
  6. Charles II
  7. James VII and II (King of Scotland and England)
  8. Joint rule of Mary II and William III.
  9. Queen Anne (Scotland and England merged to form Great Britain)
  10. George I
  11. George II
  12. George III
  13. William IV
  14. Queen Victoria

The Connection – King Henry VII

Based on the descriptions above, it is apparently clear that Queen Elizabeth II was not a direct descendant of Queen Elizabeth I.  Instead they appear to be distant cousins. What is obvious is that the two women monarchs once shared a common ancestor. That ancestor was King Henry VII.

Henry VII was Elizabeth I’s grandfather. It turned out that, Henry VII’s daughter, Princess Margaret, married a member of the House of Stuart in Scotland. Margaret’s granddaughter was Mary I, Queen of Scots. In turn, Mary, Queen of Scots, gave birth to James VI of Scotland (also known as James I of England and Ireland).

And upon the death of the childless Elizabeth I in 1603 (of the House Tudor), the English crown passed to her first cousin twice removed James VI (of the House of Stuart). The new king now had the title James I of England and Ireland in addition to his Scottish title – James VI. It means that James I’s great great-grandfather was Henry VII.

Starting from James I, the following are all the monarchs that came from the House of Stuart:

  1. James VI and I (King of Scotland and England)
  2. Charles I
  3. Charles II
  4. James VII and II (King of Scotland and England)
  5. Mary II and William III (Joint rule)
  6. Queen Anne (Scotland and England merged to form Great Britain)

After the death of Queen Anne (she was childless), the British crown moved from the House of Stuart to the House of Hanover. The House of Hanover produced the following 5 rulers:

  1. George I
  2. George II
  3. George III
  4. William IV
  5. Queen Victoria

After Queen Victoria’s death, the new king ventured into another house. Thus, Edward VII’s house became Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. This was as a result of his father’s (Prince Albert) House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. However, this house did not last for long. Edward VII’s successor, George V, changed the name of the house to Windsor. The decision to do so was borne out of the need to distant the British monarch far from their German roots. England was in a brutal war with Germany in World War I by then.

Ever since 1917, the house of the British royal family has been known as Windsor. Here is a list of all the monarchs that have come from House Windsor:

  1. Edward VIII
  2. George VI
  3. Queen Elizabeth II
  4. King Charles III

Conclusion

After careful analysis of the British royal family tree, we can confidently say that Queen Elizabeth and Queen Elizabeth II shared a common ancestor called Henry VII (reign- 1495- 1509) of the House Tudor.

Counting from Elizabeth II’s grandfather, George V, Elizabeth II is Elizabeth I’s the first cousin fourteen times removed. On the other hand, if the calculation is made through Queen Elizabeth II’s grandmother- Mary of Teck- the connection becomes 13 times removed from Elizabeth I.

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain

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3 Responses

  1. Honour Brahms Olukoya says:

    I love this historical analysis. Nice one

  2. Nathan says:

    It can be worked out that Elizabeth II was 1st cousin 14 removed to Elizabeth I. From the family tree diagram of Elizabeth I above it can be seen that James V was her 1st cousin, Mary Queen of Scots the 1st cousin once removed and James I of England/VI of Scotland was first cousin twice removed. The lineage from James I/VI to Elizabeth II goes like this: James1/VI—>Elizabeth Stuart of Bohemia (daughter of James I/VI married to Frederick V and also known as the ‘winter queen’)—>Sophia of Hanover—->George I (Queen Anne’s 2nd cousin and the chosen heir to succeed Queen Anne)—->George II—–>Prince Frederick, Prince of wales—>George III—->Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathern—–>Queen Victoria——->Edward VII—>George V—->George VI—->Elizabeth II.

    • Nathan says:

      Some clarifications on the lineage described above: JamesI/VI’s daughter Elizabeth was married at the Royal Chapel in Whitehall London. The couple went to live in Heidelberg about two months after the wedding. They became King and Queen of Bohemia (part of Czech republic today) in 1619 but were expelled after a year, hence the description “winter queen”. King Frederick died of plague in 1632 and Elizabeth the winter queen lived in the Dutch Republic for 30 years before returning to London in 1661 and dying in 1662. Her daughter Sophia was born in 1630. She was married to Ernest Augustus in 1658 and when he became the Elector of Hanover she was titled Electress of Hanover. Charles II who was reinstated as King of England and Scotland in 1660 was her first cousin (with Charles I and Elizabeth of Bohemia being siblings). She was nominated in 1701 as the next protestant in line to the British throne after Queen Anne (who like queen Mary was Charles II’s daughter). She died in in June 1714 and therefore when Queen Anne died in August 1714 George I, second cousin to Queen Anne, was brought in as King of Great Britain. He had been the Elector of Hanover since 1698 and was both Elector of Hanover and King of Great Britain until his death in 1727.

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