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King Edward I & My 2 Great-Grandmothers

The countless surprises that I find in my family tree are often both confusing and intriguing. My paternal 22nd Great Grandfather, King Edward I of England has provided many such surprises. Edward's ancestors include many notable figures including several kings & queens, US political figures, actors, rebels, artists & more. Through King Edward 1st I have discovered a veritable treasure trove of historical relatives.

King Edward I was married twice. first to Eleanor of Castile (Queen Consort of England) and secondly to Marguerite of France. Interestingly, both Eleanor of Castile and Marguerite of France were my 22nd paternal Grandmothers and 2 of their sons were my 21st Grandfathers. Both of these lines go directly through my Taylor side of the family and are traceable back to my 4th Grandmother, Theoda Pendel Andrus (or Andrews as her surname was Americanized).

Going back farther on Grandma #22, Eleanor of Castile, her parents were Ferdinand III King of Castile and Galcia and Joan Dammartin Countess of Ponthieu (and became Queen Consort of Spain). My other 22nd Grandmother was Marguerite de (of) France, daughter of Philip III King of France and Marie of Brabant Queen of France.

With my French royal Grandparents, I also have a set of 2 Grandmothers married to the same man. In addition to Marie of Brabant being my 21st Grandmother, Philip III was also married to Isabella of Aragon, Queen of France. Isabella from whom I am a decendent through their son, King Philip IV of France.

Confused yet? If you are, I don't blame you as these royal marriages could be very confusing what with all the nobles marrying into other royal families in order to keep the bloodlines "pure". Many royal marriages were also arranged in order to further strengthen geo-political alliances which is why a lot of the modern day descendants of royals and other nobles will find many cases where they have 1 Grandfather or Grandmother married to 2 or even more grandparents of the opposite sex.

With online programs like, these complicated and overlapping family relationships can run havoc on their computer's relationship calculation formulas, but usually only for a short period of time. This can also result in very funny relationship results, such as those that I have with the current British royal family.

The late Queen Elizabeth II was my 19th cousin, once removed through her mother, The Queen Mother. That makes her children - including the current King Charles - my 20th cousins. However, I am also related to the late Princess Diana Spencer although more closely than to Queen Elizabeth II; Princess Diana and I were related through her father's family and as such we were 17th cousins, once removed. Since Princess Diana and King Charles were married and had children, their children (Prince William and Prince Harry) are my 18th cousins. This calculation is due to the fact that I am more closely related to their late mother than I am to their father. Either way though, I won't be getting an invitation to join any of them at Sandringham this Christmas!

These examples are just some of the fun and interesting challenges that family genealogists face when researching and putting together their family trees. Even though these occurrences can be confusing at first, they are a very good lesson in history...and to some degree mathematics!


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