Some Hollywood stars have had such illustrious and iconic careers that they are considered royalty in their own right. Even though they may appear to us common folk as kings and queens, a surprising number of celebrities have distinct hereditary connections to monarchies.
The team at Indy100 compiled a list of 18 celebrities who can claim aristocratic ancestry while also being phenomenally iconic (some people really do have the world at the tips of their fingers, huh).
1) Hilary Duff
Due to her status as the Queen's closest American celebrity relative, FindMyPast.com named Duff "America's most royal celebrity." Duff is Queen Elizabeth's 18th cousin through Alexander Spotswood, a British Army commander and the 10th great-grandson of Edward III.
Akosua Busia is a Ghanian actress who is the daughter of Kofi Abrefa Busia, the former prime minister of the Republic of Ghana (1969-1972) and prince of the royal family of Wenchi, an Ashanti subgroup.
As a result, Busia is a princess too.
She is known for her portrayal of Nettie Harris, the sister to Celie Harris (played by Whoopi Goldberg) in the 1985 film, The Color Purple.
When Meghan Markle became the Duchess of Sussex after her marriage to Prince Harry in 2018, she deepened the pot on her existing royal heritage.
Markle is a direct descendent of England’s King Edward III, which means that she and Prince Harry are 17th cousins.
In a report from the Sun, she is also related to Jane Seymour, King Henry VIII’s third wife (the one who died after birth, not the one who was beheaded).
Isabel Hildyard, her 12th great-grandmother, was also Seymour’s second cousin.
Meghan Markle AFP via Getty Images
6) Maggie and Jake Gyllenhaal
Hollywood siblings Maggie and Jake Gyllenhaal’s family tree extends back to Edward III, the King of England from 1327 through 1377, which makes them 19th cousins to the Queen. The Gyllenhaals behind Hilary Duff and Brooke Shields have the most royal blood out of any American celebrity.
Maggie and Jake Cyllenhaal Getty Images
7) Céline Dion
Just like Madonna, French-Canadian singer Céline Dion is a ninth cousin once removed of Camilla Parker Bowles. This also makes Dion and Madonna 10th cousins twice removed through Jean Guyon, one of the earliest settlers of Quebec as well as 10th cousins once removed through Zacharie Cloutier, a carpenter and another early settler of Quebec.
Film director, producer, screenwriter, Guy Ritchie, who also happens to be the ex-husband of Madonna, has royal connections! He’s related to the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton as the two are sixth cousins.
He was also invited to her 2011 wedding to Prince William.
Guy Ritchie Getty
9) Kit Harington
Kit Harington and his Game of Thrones character Jon Snow have something in common: they’re both descendants of royalty, albeit Harington’s ancestry doesn’t qualify him as a secret king. His grandmother, Lavender Cecilia Denny, is a descendant of King Charles II of England.
Denny married Richard Harington, the 12th Baronet Harington, a title that has been passed down through the generations since the 1400s.
“We were comfortable [Harington and family], but I didn’t go to Oxbridge, and yet every American interviewer I get says to me, ‘You’re related to Charles II! Your grandfather was a baronet!’” Harrington told the London Evening Standard.
Kit Harington Corbis via Getty Images
10) Angelina Jolie
Angelina Jolie's mother, Marie Bertrand, is a descendant of French royalty. Her ancestors may be traced all the way back to Phillip II, the son of Louis VII, a 12th-century French king. This links Jolie to Marie of France, a powerful French princess at the time and Phillip's half-sister. Jolie is also the 26th cousin of Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II.
Angelina JolieGetty Images
11) Political royalty—The Bush family
Who would've thought that dynasties could exist on both sides of the Atlantic? George and Jeb Bush are 11th cousins, twice removed, of the late Princess Diana, and thus have a tie to a very British lineage.
Jeb and George Bush Getty
12) Paris Hilton
Paris Hilton may act like a princess, and it's plausible that's because she's related to royalty herself! On her father Richard Hilton's side of the family, she is the Queen's 20th cousin through Henry II. Well, that's hot.
Ellen DeGeneres and Kate Middleton, the future Queen of England, are distant cousins thanks to a familial link through Sir Thomas Fairfax. DeGeneres attempted to utilize a family connection to gain access to Prince George, one of the most adorable royals.
“I have a clothing line [ED by Ellen]; I can give him clothes; I can make a special robe for him,’” she told British tabloid Hello!” she told British tabloid Hello!
Tilda Swinton's background is well-known to everyone who has seen the film Braveheart. Robert the Bruce, the Scottish king who fought Edward I (Longshanks) for control of Scotland in the 14th century, is a direct descendant of the legendary actress. While we're on the subject of reboots, how about Swinton taking on the role of her ancestor?
Tilda Swinton Getty Images
15) Johnny Depp
Most famous for his role as Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean, Johnny Depp happens to be another cousin of the Queen. He is a 20th cousin.
The pop artist is derived from French-Canadian Madeleine Ernard and her carpenter spouse Zacharie Cloutier (1617-1708), making her a ninth cousin (once removed) of the Duchess of Cornwall, Camilla Parker Bowles, according to the New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston. They also have another renowned relative on the list.
American actress and model Brooke Shields' royal blood goes without saying, as she has always exhibited queenly confidence. She's the second-most royal celebrity in America, trailing only Hilary Duff.
Through Henry II of France, Shields is Queen Elizabeth's 18th cousin once removed. Catherine de Medici and Lucrezia Borgia, Charlemagne and El Cid, William the Conqueror, and King Harold are among the names on her family tree.