Beyond The Windsors: Europe’s Other Royal Families

Royal Heritage, Surnames
2 August 2017
by Ancestry

When it comes to monarchies, we hear the most about the British royal family, the Windsors.

But if you’re looking for a family link to royalty, you might want to look further than England.

And while these days, royals like Kate and William are well-known by their first names, if you’re looking for your own noble ancestry, an easy place to start is your last name.


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Which royal European household could you have ties to? Let’s take a look beyond the Windsors, at Europe’s other royal families.

Norway

King Harald V is the current king of Norway.

The son of Olav V of Norway and Princess Martha of Sweden, Harald grew up in both Sweden and, for safety reasons during WWII, in Washington, D.C.

His marriage was controversial because he married a “commoner,” Sonja Haraldsen.

He became king in 1991 and their son, the crown prince Haakon Magnus, will one day be king of Norway.

Sweden

Sweden is ruled by King Carl XVI Gustaf, whose daughter Princess Victoria will be queen after her father’s rule.

The monarchy dates back to the 10th century and now the royal family hands out Nobel Prizes each year at Stockholm Concert Hall.

The Netherlands

The Netherlands’ King Willem-Alexander, born in 1967, is the second-youngest monarch in Europe.

He is also president of the Council of State, which considers all laws before they are submitted to parliament.

His nickname, dating back to his exploits in college, is said to have been “the Lager Prince.”

Spain

Spain’s King Felipe VI, born in 1968, is the youngest monarch in Europe. He became king in 2014, after the abdication of his father, King Juan Carlos I.

His mother Sofia of Greece and Denmark, and he is married to former CNN journalist Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano.

Denmark

Queen Margrethe II rules over both Denmark and Greenland.

Her son, Crown Prince Frederik, is heir apparent to the throne.

Frederik’s wife, the Crown Princess Mary, was formerly Mary Elizabeth Donaldson, an Australian marketing consultant he met at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Luxembourg

In Luxembourg, which calls itself a “Grand Duchy” as opposed to a kingdom, Henri Guillaume is called Grand Duke rather than King.

His father abdicated the throne when Henri Guillaume was only nine years old, making him heir apparent.

Belgium

The proper title of the Belgian monarch is not Belgian King but “King of the Belgians.”

By Michael Thaidigsmann (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
The current king, only the eighth monarch since the country gained independence in 1830, is King Philippe.

He was raised in Belgium and then attended college at Oxford and then graduate school at Stanford.

He married Mathilde d’Udekem d’Acoz. Her father was a count, the son of a baron who was of Belgian noble ancestry. Her mother is a countess and daughter of a Polish princess.

Do you have ties to European nobility? Discover your family’s royal roots with an Ancestry free trial.