How did we not know this?! British monarch Queen Elizabeth and her husband of 70 years, Prince Philip, are actually related. Yes, you read that right! Elizabeth and Philip are second cousins once removed through King Christian IX of Denmark and his wife, Louise of Hesse-Kassel. They’re also third cousins through Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Interesting…

The future Queen first met Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark in 1934 at the royal wedding of Philip’s cousin Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark to Elizabeth’s paternal uncle Prince George, Duke of Kent. At the time, Elizabeth was just eight years old and Philip was 13. A few years later, the two were brought together yet again at the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth in July 1939. Though Elizabeth was only 13 years old, she has said she fell for Philip, then 18, at this time and the two began to exchange love letters.

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Elizabeth and Philip on their 1947 wedding day.

After courting for eight years, Philip proposed to Elizabeth when she was 21 years old in the summer of 1947. Interestingly, the couple’s engagement was controversial as Philip had no financial standing and was born in Corfu, Greece, not England. “Some of the King’s advisors did not think him good enough for her. He was a prince without a home or kingdom. Some of the papers played long and loud tunes on the string of Philip’s foreign origin,” British author Marion Crawford once wrote.

In preparation to marry Elizabeth, Philip renounced both his Greek and Danish royal titles and instead adopted the name Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, which included the surname of his mother’s British family. On Nov. 20, 1947, the pair tied the knot at London’s Westminster Abbey. The day before his royal wedding, Philip was given the title of His Royal Highness Duke of Edinburgh from Elizabeth’s father, King George VI. In the years following their lavish nuptials, Elizabeth and Philip had four children together: Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, and Prince Edward.

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