Royalty is a funny thing — it all comes down to who you are related to. And blood is everything when it comes to determining who will take which crown and which title.
Many who are related to royalty will never have a fancy title or ancestral lands. But that doesn’t mean they won’t have fame. In fact, some of the biggest celebs in the world are secretly related to royals!
Don’t believe it? Here are 31 of our fave celebs nurturing a secret royal connection.
With the surprise launch of her album Evermore, Taylor Swift secured her position as America’s pop music queen. But thanks to their common 15th century ancestor Richard Sherburne, she is actually 17th cousins, once removed, with Queen Elizabeth II!
With his hit biography and upcoming Netflix productions, Barack Obama is as popular as ever. He and Queen Elizabeth II share the same type of star power, possibly because they are secretly 15th cousins, twice removed! They share a common 16th century ancestor named William Gerard.
Brad Pitt is versatile enough to play just about any role. But he doesn’t have to play at being a royal relative. That’s because he’s related to Queen Elizabeth II in two different ways. As a descendant of King Henry II, he’s her 25th cousin, twice removed. And like Barack Obama, as a descendant of 16th century Briton William Gerard, he is her 15th cousin, twice removed. He doesn’t talk about it much, but maybe that’s the first rule of Royal Club?
To her fans, Beyoncé is already royalty, with the title of “Queen Bey.” But she has a connection with the Queen of England as well. She and Elizabeth II are both descended from the same 12th century king, Henry II, and are secretly 25th cousins (once removed).
On the silver screen, Richard Gere is both an officer and a gentleman. Offscreen, though, he has royal connections to the Queen. He is her 22nd cousin (twice removed) thanks to their shared ancestry with John Talbot, a 14th century member of English nobility.
Tom Hanks has long since earned the title of “America’s Sweetheart.” But he may have had a royal title in another life. That’s because he is descended from England’s 12 century King John. That makes him a 24th cousin of Queen Elizabeth II. They are also 14th cousins, three times removed, through their common 15th century ancestor Sir William FitzHugh.
Out of all the celebs on this list, Hillary Duff is actually the closest relative to Queen Elizabeth II. But the word “closest” is also pretty “relative” because she is the Queen’s 18th cousin, once removed, thanks to their common ancestor: King Edward III of England.
Obviously, Meghan Markle became part of the royal family when she married Prince Harry. But it turns out that she is also a 24th generation descendant of King Edward III on her father’s side. In case you’re wondering, that does mean she’s related to Prince Harry, but it’s a very distant connection. She and Harry are also 17th cousins through another common ancestor, a 15th century High Sheriff of County Durham named Ralph Bowes.
Laura Dern has sizzled thanks to recent roles in Star Wars: The Last Jedi and A Marriage Story. She also has a sizzling royal connection! With her blood ties to King Edward III of England, she is the Queen’s 19th cousin (thrice removed).
Thanks to his recent court loss, England has been pretty bad luck for Johnny Depp and his reputation. This is ironic, considering he is likely 20th cousins with Queen Elizabeth II herself! While not 100% proven, genealogists believe they share a common grandfather 20 generations ago, through an unconfirmed marriage in 15th century Yorkshire, England.
Due to his many hit films, Michael Douglas may as well be American royalty. But he is secretly related to British royalty. In fact, Douglas is the 19th cousin (once removed) of Queen Elizabeth II because they are both descended from King Edward III.
Dakota and Elle Fanning
Dakota and sister Elle Fanning have both been princesses in the world of Hollywood. But recent research discovered that they are (distant) cousins of Kate Middleton as well as the 22nd great-granddaughters of none other than King Edward III.
George W. Bush
Part of George W. Bush’s brand has been that of the straight-shooting cowboy. But he has a secret royal connection to Princess Diana. He is her 11th cousin (once removed).
Alec Baldwin’s royal connection goes all the way back to his 10th century English ancestor, King Æthelred the Unready. Because of this, Baldwin and his many famous siblings are all 29th cousins of Queen Elizabeth II.
Soon, Robert Pattinson will take on the cape and cowl of Batman, but he is most famous for playing a vampire in the Twilight series. That is ironic because Pattison is related to the real Dracula — Vlad the Impaler!
Paris Hilton has had a long and strange career in TV and movies. But she has an even stranger royal connection. With King Henry II of England as her ancestor, Hilton is actually the 20th cousin of Queen Elizabeth II!
Céline Dion and her music have had a profound influence on American culture. But that can’t hold back her royal connection. She has a secret family connection to Camilla Parker-Bowles, the Duchess of Cornwall! They share a common French ancestor born in the late 16th century, Jean Guyon du Buisson.
Aside from famous singing careers, you might not imagine too many connections between Madonna and Céline Dion. But it turns out that both of them are distant relations to the Duchess of Cornwall. Madonna’s relation to Camilla Parker-Bowles is slightly more recent, though. Their common ancestor is a 17th century French carpenter named Zacharie Cloutier.
In the Harry Potter films, Ralph Fiennes’ Voldemort is obsessed with his pureblood lineage. Offscreen, though, Fiennes is descended from a 15th century king, James II of Scotland. This makes him an eighth cousin to Prince Charles.
Hugh Grant is one of those rare celebs that has multiple royal connections. As it turns out, he is descended from both England’s Henry VII (the first Tudor king) and Scotland’s James IV!
Believe it or not, Angelina Jolie has a royal connection just like her former husband Brad Pitt! In Jolie’s case, she is Queen Elizabeth’s 26th cousin on her mother’s side. They both share a 12th century ancestor, King Philippe II of France. Jolie even became an honorary dame thanks to the queen!
Uma Thurman is known for playing a strong woman in movies like Kill Bill. But maybe it’s in the genes: she is the 21st cousin, once removed, of Queen Elizabeth II. Thurman is descended from England’s King Edward I!
Maggie and Jake Gyllenhaal
As famous siblings, Maggie and Jake Gyllenhaal are already part of an acting dynasty. But they are also secretly part of a royal dynasty. They are descended from King Henry I, making them each a 19th cousin of Queen Elizabeth II.
To her fans, Kyra Sedgwick is best known as The Closer. But she also happens to be “closer” to royalty because she is a descendant of King Henry III. That makes her the 21st cousin, twice removed, of Queen Elizabeth II.
Brooke Shields may not have much in common with Hillary Duff, but both are close(ish) relatives to Queen Elizabeth. As for Shields, she is the Queen’s 18th cousin (once removed), with both women sharing a common ancestor, King Henry II of France.
In recent months, Ellen’s reputation has tarnished thanks to allegations of abuse on her set. But nothing can take away her royal connection. Ellen is actually related to both Queen Elizabeth II and the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton by blood.
Queen Elizabeth II and Ellen are both descendants of King Edward III of England, making them 19th cousins, twice removed. And regarding Kate Middlen, Ellen is her 15th cousin through their common 16th century ancestor Sir Thomas Fairfax.
While the Doctor Strange star is famous all around the world, Benedict Cumberbatch will always be connected to England via his brilliant portrayal of Sherlock Holmes. And his English connection is even deeper when you realize he is a third cousin (albeit 16 times removed) of King Richard III, a man Cumberbatch even portrayed on an episode of The Hollow Crown.
Who is Glenn Close’s royal connection? Thanks to her ancestry with King John of England, Close is actually the 24th cousin (twice removed) of Queen Elizabeth II.
Marilyn Monroe was an American icon at the height of her fame. And she was also an 11th cousin of Queen Elizabeth II due to their shared ancestry with a man named William Brinley.
Compared to some celebs on this list, Guy Ritchie has really close connections with royalty. He is a sixth cousin to the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton, and even attended her wedding back in 2011.