Dec 27, 2022, 6:00 PM
- Some of the most powerful people and historical figures have married their cousins.
- Cousin marriages were historically used to keep fortunes within the family line and forge alliances, according to Forbes.
- Queen Elizabeth II, Rudy Giuliani, and Kevin Bacon have all married close or distant cousins.
- Here are 10 people who knowingly or unknowingly married their cousins.
Queen Elizabeth II married Prince Philip, her second cousin once removed.
The late Queen Elizabeth II married Prince Philip, her second cousin once removed, in 1947.
Their 70-year marriage lasted until Philip died in 2017. While rumors have persisted over the years of Philip having affairs, they have not been proven, and the Queen is said to have loved him devotedly throughout their marriage, according to TIME.
Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick are distant cousins.
Actors Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick have been married since 1988, according to People.
The couple wouldn’t find out until years later that they are actually ninth cousins once removed, according to Forbes. The revelation of their genealogy came in a 2012 PBS episode of the show “Finding Your Roots,” per People.
Rudy Giuliani was married to his cousin for 14 years.
Rudy Giuliani married Regina Peruggi, his second cousin, in 1968, according to PolitiFact. Their marriage lasted 14 years and yielded no children.
At different points in his political career, Giuliani described them as “second cousins once removed” and “third cousins” until he was corrected, PolitiFact reported.
Albert Einstein married his cousin.
In 1919, famed physicist Albert Einstein married Elsa Lowenthal, who was his first cousin on his mother’s side as well as his second cousin on his father’s side, according to Forbes. It was Einstein’s second marriage.
They were married until Elsa died in 1936, according to The Guardian. Though Einstein had open affairs, he did write to her rigorously when he toured and lectured, the outlet reported. He died in 1955.
Franklin D. Roosevelt married Eleanor Roosevelt, his fifth cousin.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt married his fifth cousin, Eleanor Roosevelt in 1905 after a secret romance that started in 1903, according to National Geographic. Their 40-year marriage yielded six children.
Roosevelt had an affair in 1918, which left Eleanor devastated, according to the outlet. Their marriage continued to be supportive and friendly, but their son James would describe it as “an armed truce,” per National Geographic.
Jerry Lee Lewis married his first cousin, Myra Gale, when she was 13.
When he was 22 years old, classic rock’s Jerry Lee Lewis married his first cousin, Myra Gale Lewis Williams, in 1957, according to Newsweek. She was just 13 years old at the time, though Lewis lied to the press, telling them she was 15, according to the outlet.
Their marriage lasted until their divorce in 1970 when Williams said Lewis put her through “every type of physical and mental abuse imaginable,” according to Newsweek.
Edgar Allan Poe married his 13-year-old cousin.
At age 27, American poet Edgar Allan Poe married his first cousin, Virginia Eliza Clemm, while she was just 13 years old, according to Forbes.
The nature of their relationship has been contested. Some biographers said the two loved each other like siblings and that he referred to her as “Sissy” while she called him “Eddy,” according to Lethbridge News Now. Poe wrote several of his most famous poems following Virginia’s death in 1847 from tuberculosis, according to the outlet.
Queen Victoria married Prince Albert, her first cousin.
Queen Victoria married her first cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, in 1840, according to National Geographic. The pair were first cousins who were in a loving relationship wherein they had nine children, according to the outlet.
Victoria described their wedding night as “bliss beyond belief,” and she was devastated when he died in 1861, after which, she wore only black for the rest of her life, according to National Geographic. Ruling for 63 years, she was the second-longest reigning British monarch to Queen Elizabeth II.
President Thomas Jefferson married his third cousin.
President Thomas Jefferson married Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson, who was his third cousin, according to Forbes. The two wed in 1772 after she had been widowed by her first husband, according to White House records. She died in 1782, and Jefferson swore to her on her deathbed that he would never marry again, according to US News.
Jefferson would later become widely known for fathering children (via rape) with Sally Hemmings, an enslaved woman he owned who was Martha Jefferson’s half-sister. At the time, his contemporaries wrote he “kept, as a concubine, one of his own slaves,” according to POLITICO.
Johann Sebastian Bach wed vocalist Maria Barbara, his first cousin.
Composer Johann Sebastian Bach married his first cousin, Maria Barbara, in 1701, according to VICE. She was a vocalist, and together, they had seven children, the outlet reported.
After Maria died in 1720, Bach married another vocalist, Anna Magdalena, according to the Kalamazoo Gazette.