In case it hasn’t been made clear yet, royalty likes to interbreed.  Cousins like to marry cousins, and incest is a cherished family value.  Prince Albert (Queen Victoria’s husband) was a man who believed that peace in Europe could be achieved by all of his grandkids marrying each other.  As a result, most of the current European monarchies are related to the third or fourth degrees.  But did you know that all of Europe’s existing monarchies are related even further?  Well, read further, my genealogical nerds.  Because you do now.

Meet John William Friso.  Born in what would eventually become The Netherlands in 1687, he became the Prince of Orange and a relatively boring guy.  However, with the power of his loins he and his wife went on to become the most recent common ancestors of all European monarchs occupying thrones today.  What’s kind of incredible about this is that the couple only had two children.  And yet, the blood of these two children flows through an epic shitload of descendants.

Rather than show you every single family tree, I’m just going to list them all.  The italicized ones no longer exist.  The underlined italicized no longer exist though pretenders/descendants to the throne are currently living.  I’ve also listed the reigning monarch/pretender, if they exist. Some thrones have multiple pretenders.

  1. Albania
  2. Austria-Hungary: Karl von Hapsburg
  3. Belgium: King Philippe
  4. Brazil: Prince Luiz of Orléans-Braganza, Pedro Carlos of Orléans-Braganza
  5. Bulgaria: Simeon II of Bulgaria
  6. Denmark: Margarethe II
  7. France: Jean, Count of Paris, Louis Alphonse, Duke of Anjou, Charles, Prince Napoléon
  8. Germany:
    1. Baden: Prince Maximillian
    1. Bavaria: Duke Franz
    1. Brunswick: Prince Ernest Augustus of Hanover
    1. Hess and the Rhine: Donatus, Landgrave of Hess
    1. Mecklenburg-Schwerin
    1. Oldenburg: Duke Christian
    1. Prussia: Prince Georg Friedrich
    1. Reuss-Gera: Heinrich XLV, Hereditary Prince Reuss Younger Line
    1. Reuss-Greiz
    1. Saxe-Coburg-Gotha: Hubertus Prinz von Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha
    1. Saxe-Meiningen
    1. Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach: Prince Michael
    1. Saxony
    1. Schaumburg-Lippe: Prince Alexander
    1. Waldeck and Pyrmont: Wittekind
    1. Württemberg: Duke Carl, Prince Pedro, Duke of Calabria
  9. Greece: Constantine II
  10. Italy:
    1. Savoy: Vittorio Emanuele, Prince of Naples
    1. Two Sicilies: Prince Carlo, Duke of Castro,
  11. Liechtenstein: Hans-Adam II, Prince of Lichtenstein
  12. Luxembourg: Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg
  13. Monaco: Albert II
  14. The Netherlands: King Willem-Alexander
  15. Norway: King Harald V
  16. Portugal(The last king of Portugal, Manuel II, was not descended from Friso, but his queen consort, Augusta Victoria of Hohenzollern, was)
  17. Romania: Princess Margareta of Romania (disputed due to Salic Law)
  18. Russia: Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, Princess Olga Andreevna
  19. Spain: King Felipe VI
  20. Sweden: King Carl XVI Gustaf
  21. United Kingdom: Queen Elizabeth II
  22. Yugoslavia: Crown Prince Alexander

But, dear reader, I’m sure you’re wondering what this has to do with MOTHERFUCKING VIKINGS.  Well, I decided to go a little overboard.  I had a feeling that if I dug deep enough, I’d find that Friso had some English blood.  It took a little while, but sure enough, he was descended from Matilda, eldest daughter of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine.  Not Viking yet, but we’re getting there.

Henry II was descended from William the Bastard, being his great grandson.  But it’s not William the Bastard I’m concerned about here, it’s his wife, Matilda of Flanders.  Matilda of Flanders could trace her ancestry to Alfred the Great. If it weren’t for Alfred the Great, we’d all be speaking Danish right now and I’d be talking a lot more about Margarethe II of Denmark.  I can only wish…


One of the very many cool things about the British family tree is just how old it is.  While the record for oldest family tree belongs to Confucius, the British tree is still up there at just about 1,500 years old.  While not exactly verifiable, there are records that the Anglo-Saxon kings could trace their ancestry back to Cerdic of Wessex, who lived somewhere around the early 6th century.  Unfortunately, the records are spotty and a lot of this is disputed.

But we’re still not at MOTHERFUCKING VIKINGS yet!

(Ok, yes.  The TV show Vikings talks about Egbert and Alfred.  It’s a terrible show.  So is The Last Kingdom. It started great and then season 3 turned to shit. Go read The Last Kingdom books. Bernard Cornwell is a master and we should all bow down to him.)

So if we retrace our steps, we can go from Lizzy II to John William Friso to Matilda of England to Matilda of Flanders to Alfred the Great to Cerdic of Wessex.  That gives us FORTY-NINE generations. If we want to add on Charles, William, and the royal babies, that’s FIFTY-TWO.

And, of course, John of Gaunt got in on the action. Remember Juana of Castile, and how she was descended from two of John’s wives, Blanche and Costanza? It turns out John William Friso’s wife, Landgrave Marie Louise of Hesse Kassel, was a 2/3 Lancastrian, being descended from Juana of Castile. We can skip from Henry II all the way down to Edward III, to John of Gaunt, through Juana of Castile, to Marie Louise, down to everyone.

Now, finally, I’ll get to MOTHERFUCKING VIKINGS.

When the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes invaded what was known as Britain back in the 6th century, they were strictly pagan.  Christianity was introduced via both the Romans and later missionaries.  The barbarian invaders, though, followed Odin, Thor, Freyja, Tyr, and the like.  They may have had slightly different names for them, but these were Norse gods through and through.  And like their northern counterparts, the invaders liked to boast.  Cerdic in particular claimed descent from Wotan (Odin).

Which means that Alfred the Great could claim Odin’s descent.

Which means that Matilda of Flanders could claim Odin’s descent.

Which means that Matilda of England could claim Odin’s descent.

Which means that John William Friso could claim Odin’s descent.

Which means that every European monarch currently existing today, whether on a throne or pretender, can claim Odin’s descent.

Mother.  Fucking.  Vikings.

Questions? Comments? Let me know below! I can also be reached on Twitter @Rhydnara.


  1. An interesting post indeed. Just to be nitpicking a tiny bit I think it would be correct to also underline the Albanian dynasty as the pretender to the Albanian throne is very much alive: Leka II, to some Crown Prince of Albania (as his father Leka I regarded himself as King of Albania though the monarchy had been abolished by the time his father, the exiled King, Zog died) and by others Prince of Albania.


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