As the British royal family prepares for the ascension of King Charles III, questions about his relationship with his wife Camilla Parker Bowles continue to swirl. Among them: are the two distant cousins?
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According to genealogy research by Ancestry.com, the answer is yes. The site found that Charles and Camilla are ninth cousins once removed, both descending from Henry Cavendish, 2nd Duke of Newcastle.
The Duke, born in 1630 and died in 1691, had two daughters: Margaret and Catherine Cavendish. Charles’s family tree connects to Margaret, while Camilla’s is linked to Catherine.
While the news may come as a surprise to some, it’s not uncommon for members of royal families to be related. In fact, it’s been estimated that nearly all European monarchs are descendants of King Christian IX of Denmark, who reigned in the mid-19th century.
But for Charles and Camilla, their familial connection is just one small part of a long and complicated history. The couple first met in the early 1970s, reportedly at a polo match at Windsor Great Park. Camilla is said to have impressed Charles with her wit and charm, telling him that her great-grandmother was the mistress of his great-great-grandfather.
Despite their connection, Charles and Camilla didn’t begin a romantic relationship until years later, after both had married other people. Their affair became public knowledge in 1993, when an intimate phone conversation between the two was leaked to the press.
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In the years since, the couple has weathered scandal and public scrutiny, ultimately marrying in a civil service in 2005. Their relationship is now seen as one of the most stable in the royal family, with Camilla taking on an increasingly visible role as Charles’s wife and consort.
As the future king and queen consort of Britain, Charles and Camilla will continue to be subject to intense public interest and speculation.