Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, officially became part of the British royal family in 2005 when she married Prince Charles, the future king of Great Britain. However, her connection to English royalty — and Charles — goes beyond her marriage. Like so many other members of the monarchy, Camilla and Charles are distant cousins.
Both the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall can trace their families all the way back to Henry Cavendish, 2nd Duke of Newcastle. This connection makes the pair ninth cousins once removed. Charles’s family descends from the duke’s elder daughter, Margaret Cavendish, while Camilla’s family tree connects via the duke’s younger daughter, Catherine Cavendish.
Their distant familial relationship aside, the major controversy surrounding this couple comes from their affair while Charles was married to England’s sweetheart, the late Princess Diana. Diana once openly said there were three people in her marriage, referring of course to Charles’s ongoing relationship with Camilla.
But if rumors are to be believed, Camilla isn’t the first in her family to dally with a member of the royal family.
Alice Keppel, Camilla’s great-grandmother, reportedly carried on an affair with King Edward VII, who was 26 years her senior. Their relationship is said to have lasted until the king’s death in 1910. The rumor mill still churns that Keppel’s daughter, Sonia, may actually have been King Edward’s child. If this tidbit is true, that would make Charles and Camilla half-second cousins once removed.
While the future king and queen’s connections seem crazy, it’s not uncommon for royalty. As it turns out, Britain’s current obsession, Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, are related as well — but that’s a whole other story.
— Shanna Yehlen