Celebrities Who Are Related To The Royal Family

It's no secret that society is equally obsessed with both royalty and celebrity culture. With the 2022 passing of Queen Elizabeth II, people have become even more fascinated by the monarchy and Royal family. Why are we so obsessed as a society? "We're social animals," explained Dr. Frank Farley, a professor and psychologist at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Time. "With famous media figures, people we learn about, celebrities, et cetera, we often live some of our lives through them."

Something that most people don't think about? Celebrities being directly related to actual royalty! It turns out, there are more royal celebs than one would think, and in this article, there's a surprising amount of stars who have connections to a royal family. "We all have dreams of wealth and fame and happiness and style and social influence and so on," mused Farley to Time. With the following A-listers, these dreams have been elevated to a noble status, as well.

Ralph Fiennes is a distant cousin of King Charles

Strapping actor Ralph Fiennes is a distant cousin of King Charles III. According to Britannica, the two are both descendants of King James II of Scotland, who was in power from 1437-1460. Fiennes' full name is quite royal, actually; Ralph Nathaniel Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes, as detailed by the Financial Times.

However, Fiennes portrays anything but royalty in most of his films; best known for playing a sadistic Nazi in "Schindler's List" and Shakespeare's "Coriolanus," it turns out that despite him being the eighth cousin of the former Prince of Wales, he's never played a prince himself.

In 2019, King Charles paid a visit to Fiennes and fellow actor Daniel Craig on the set of "No Time to Die." Per Insider, The two shook hands and exchanged pleasantries, cracked jokes, and Fiennes even showed him around the set. Although there was no media chatter about the two being related at the time, the information was definitely floating around the internet!

Dakota and Elle Fanning are related to Kate Middleton

The Fanning sisters, Dakota and Elle, are considered Hollywood royalty — but they are real royalty, as well! Not only have historians from Ancestry.com traced back that the Fannings are the great-granddaughters of King Edward III (through their mother), they are also distant cousins to Duchess Kate Middleton (via MyLondon). 

According to People, Middleton's mother Carole Goldsmith is also a granddaughter of King Edward III, which links the Fanning sisters and the brunette wife of Prince William. It would appear that Elle didn't have much of a stretch playing Princess Aurora in "Maleficent"! "Generation after generation, the lines we looked at pieced back directly to King Edward III proving that Elle is a direct descendant of royalty," Michelle Ercanbrack, a historian for Ancestry.com, stated to People. "You can consider her a long-lost princess. This connection is so unique and rare." We'd love to be flies on a wall if these three lovely ladies ever have tea together!

Brooke Shields has a connection to Queen Elizabeth II

The iconic Brooke Shields is an actor, model, entrepreneur and.... a royal?! The New York City-born beauty was participating in a television series, "Who Do You Think You Are," when the show's researchers discovered that she was directly related to King Henry IV, and that Louis XIV was a cousin, many times removed. According to MyLondon, a study done by FindMyPast.com revealed that Shields is also the late Queen Elizabeth's 18th cousin, once removed. It's a bit unclear, but the common ancestor shared with the Queen is John of Gaunt, who was the 1st Duke of Lancaster and son of Edward III.

Brooke Shields is best known for being a successful child actress in classic films like "Pretty Baby," and " The Blue Lagoon." She was able to seamlessly transition into adult roles on successful shows like "Suddenly Susan" and "Lipstick Jungle." In 2021, Shields launched "Beginning is Now," a new digital platform focusing on lifestyle and wellness, targeting women over 40.

Benedict Cumberbach is related to King Richard III

Benedict Cumberbatch, the British actor best known for his roles in "The Imitation Game" and Marvel's "The Avengers," seemingly has the name of a royal, but also has the lineage to back it up. Coincidentally, Benedict Cumberbatch actually portrayed King Richard III in the BBC series "The Hollow Crown," and read a poem at his reburial ceremony at Leicester Cathedral (via The Guardian). It was said that he had quite a few different genetic links to King Richard, but the most direct link is through Richard's mother, making Cumberbatch the second cousin 16 times removed.

Genealogist Kevin Schurer told The Guardian, "In terms of number of generations, the shortest is via Richard's mother Cecily Neville's grandmother Joan Beaufort. He also has more indirect links to both Queen Elizabeth II and Lady Jane Grey through other ancestors in his tree." As for Cumberbatch's private life, he is married to theater actress/director Sophie Hunter, and the couple share three children together.

Hilary Duff was named the 'most royal' celebrity

According to FindMyPast.com and CBS, singer and actor Hilary Duff was named the "most royal" celeb in America! It lists Duff as the celebrity the most closely-related to Britain's former Queen, as her 18th cousin (Brooke Shields came in as a close second as she's the Queen's 18th, but once removed). Duff's main connection to the Queen is Alexander Spotswood, who was a Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, an officer in the British Army, and the 10th great-grandson of Edward III. She is also said to be a descendant of Catherine Car, who is believed by some to be the illegitimate daughter of Henry VIII. Oooooh, we love a good scandal!

Unfortunately, the closest Duff has ever come to playing royalty was the leading role of Sam in "A Cinderella Story."  This wasn't exactly the tale of a royal princess as much as it was a high-school girl getting a make-over and dating her own Prince Charming. Perhaps one day, Hilary Duff will land a role where she can exercise her royal genes!

Ellen DeGeneres is related to two royals

The former Queen of daytime television, Ellen DeGeneres, has a direct link to not only the late Queen of England, but also to the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton. According to The News International, DNA charts revealed that DeGeneres is the 19th cousin, twice removed, to Queen Elizabeth II, and although not quite as specific, it was found she is a 15th cousin of Middleton as well (via Daily Mail).

As detailed by the Mirror, this claim has been proven by an ancestral tracing company in Boston, Massachusetts, which found out that Middleton and DeGeneres are related through Sir Thomas Fairfax, commander in chief of the Parliamentary army during the English Civil Wars (via Britannica).

The comedian has made comments about wanting to meet Middleton and hang out with her. She told the Daily Mail, "Everyone thinks I'm joking, but I'm not. So, if we're related, we should start hanging out together." Keep an eye out for Duchess Kate and Prince William on a double date with Portia and Ellen!

Celine Dion has a connection to the Duchess of Cornwall

Canadian singer Celine Dion and British Royal (through marriage) Queen Consort Camilla Parker Bowles are 10th cousins, once removed! According to Family Tree magazine, the two are said to be related through French-Canadian Zacharie Cloutier, a master carpenter who immigrated to Canada in the 1600s. An additional fun fact? Madonna is also related to both Bowles and Dion (via Metro).

While Celine Dion hasn't always had the easiest life, being in the public eye for almost half of her life; the Duchess of Cornwall has also endured her fair share of scrutiny as well. Per Daily Mail, there was intense investigation and judgment around her relationship with King Charles (an affair that happened when she was married to first husband Andrew Parker-Bowles and Charles was with Princess Diana); the two eventually married in 2005.

Of the media frenzy over the affair, the Duchess told the Daily Mail, "It was horrid. It was a deeply unpleasant time and I wouldn't want to put my worst enemy through it. I couldn't have survived it without my family." Considering the Canadian singer has also faced intense controversy for her marriage to the late Rene Angelil, these two women may have more in common than they think.

Richard Gere is the 22nd cousin to Queen Elizabeth II, twice removed

Richard Gere has always been one of the classiest men in Hollywood; staying out of the tabloids and focusing on his films, family and activism. Could that be because Richard Gere has royalty in his blood? 

According to CheatSheet, Gere's family tree connects him to the late Queen Elizabeth II through their shared ancestor, English nobleman Lord John Talbot. He and the late Queen are 22nd cousins (with varying sources claiming he's either once or twice removed). It's also been said the two are connected through Edward I, a former King of England, who (along with his father King Henry III) received mixed reviews from his constituents. Hearing the name "Edward" will forever remind many of Gere's sexy businessman character in "Pretty Woman."

Although they are vastly different, Richard Gere and Queen Elizabeth both had their long careers in common, as well as the love and respect of the people around them. 

Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal are 19th cousins to the late Queen

From Hollywood A-listers to now royalty, Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal are no stranger to the spotlight, with both siblings boasting a two decade-long acting career. According to CBS News, they also boast a very famous bloodline, with lineage tracing back all the way back to King Edward III; who lived during the 14th century. Through King Edward III, the Gyllenhaals have a distant kinship to the late Queen of England, being 19th cousins!

Interestingly enough, the Gyllenhaal siblings portray anything but royalty in most of their films. Jake is best known for his dark roles in "Prisoners" and "Nightcrawler;" while Maggie garnered the praise of critics and audience members alike for her portrayal of the title role (of the troubled sex worker) in "Sherrybaby."

One thing that the Gyllenhaals and the Royals have in common is the importance of family. "I think if we've all learned one thing, no matter what we do and how blessed we are in our lives, the only thing that really matters is family and the people that we love," Jake Gyllenhaal told ET at a movie premiere for "Ambulance." Amen to that!

Johnny Depp has a connection to Queen Elizabeth II, too

In recent years, Johnny Depp has been making headlines for his troubled personal life instead of his amazing acting chops. Something that also doesn't receive much publicity, is Depp's relation to the late Queen of England. As Nick Barratt, a genealogist for the BBC show "Who Do You Think You Are" told the Mirror, Depp is most likely 20th cousins with Queen Elizabeth II, with the connection being a common great grandfather. 

Barratt explained, "I believe the balance of probability is that there is indeed a link between Depp and the royals – though I doubt we'll ever be able to prove it 100 percent. I've since established the ­family tree that demonstrates how you have to go back more than 500 years to reach the point where his ancestors become royal." Depp also is believed to have lineage to Native-American ancestors as well, according to AAANativeArts.com. Depp noted "family stories" rather than any evidence, however, regarding his Native-American roots.

Johnny Depp is one of the world's greatest actors; the fact that he's possibly royalty is just icing on the cake!

Bill Hader is related to King Edward I

Funnyman and actor Bill Hader was in disbelief when his ancestry was revealed while on the PBS docu-series "Finding Your Roots."  The show discovered that Hader is related to King Edward I (of England), and the Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne is his 40th great-grandfather (via Insider). "Finding Your Roots" focused on both the tragedies and hardships Hader's family endured, as well as the happy stories.

According to the PBS show, host Henry Louis Gates Jr. divulges the results of his lineage documents and declared, "Charlemagne, the famed leader of the Holy Roman Empire — Bill Hader, you're looking at your 40th great-grandfather." Hader, completely stunned, quipped, "I'm just blown away. I mean, the conqueror of Europe. I couldn't even get the coffeemaker to work this morning." With ancestors like Charlemagne the Holy Roman Emperor and King Edward I, no wonder Bill Hader is such a stand-up guy!