There are plenty of A-listers who expect to be treated like kings and queens– but, as it turns out, various members of Hollywood royalty do actually share bloodlines with the British royal family. Here’s a look at 20 actors and actresses whose family trees contain an unexpected regal branch.
20. Glenn Close
Glenn Close played Eleanor of Aquitaine in the 2003 TV movie The Lion in Winter – the powerful queen she just happened to be distantly related to in real life. This formidable ruler of the High Middle Ages backed her sons when they revolted against her husband Henry II in 1173. She paid the price, however: the rebellion was quashed, and Henry locked her up for 16 years.
19. Brad Pitt
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt aren’t just Hollywood’s best-looking couple, they’re also possibly its most regal. The former shares a bloodline with the Duchess of Brabant, the daughter of King Philip II of France. Pitt, meanwhile, is reportedly the 25th cousin of King Henry II.
18. Richard Gere
Richard Gere once played the Land of Israel’s second monarch in Bruce Beresford’s 1985 biopic King David, but his own real-life royal ties are actually with Britain. The actor is reportedly a descendant of Edward I – just like his 22nd cousin twice removed, Queen Elizabeth II.
She’s known as Queen B, the Queen of R&B and pretty much the Queen of Everything, but Beyoncé actually has more rights than most stars to her regal labels. The former Destiny’s Child singer is actually the 25th cousin of Queen Elizabeth II, thanks to their shared bloodline with Henry II.
16. Alec Baldwin
Alec Baldwin may have one of Hollywood’s most forceful personalities, but his royal bloodline is shared with one of Britain’s weakest monarchs. Indeed, as his nickname suggests, Aethelred the Unready is widely remembered as an ill-prepared king who struggled to protect England against the Danish military raids in the early 11th century.
15. Kyra Sedgwick
Kyra Sedgwick’s family tree has thrown up some very interesting discoveries. Not only is the actress a descendent of Henry III and the 21st cousin twice removed of the Queen of England, but, as she also found out on PBS program Finding Your Roots, she is the ninth cousin once removed of her famous husband Kevin Bacon.
14. Hillary Clinton
Sedgwick isn’t the only famous name who has a rather startling distant relation. Hillary Clinton is a direct descendant of King Edward III’s son, the First Duke of Lancaster John of Gaunt. Moreover, Gaunt is an ancestor she also just happens to share with her rival, Donald Trump.
13. Barack Obama
Of course, whoever makes it into the White House won’t be the first president with a royal bloodline. In fact, according to a family tree study conducted by 12-year-old BridgeAnne d’Avignon in 2012, a staggering 42 American presidents – including Barack Obama – all share a bloodline with King John of England.
12. Tom Hanks
Tom Hanks is another descendant of King John and the 24th cousin of the Queen on his paternal side. The ruler of England from 1119 to 1216 has often been portrayed as the baddie in the Robin Hood legend, and he was famously voiced by Peter Ustinov in the classic Disney movie.
11. Uma Thurman
Uma Thurman is also connected to a royal with a particularly unfavorable reputation in the history books. The actress directly descends from King Edward I, the temperamental monarch who sat on the British throne from 1272 to 1307. Thanks to his savage treatment of the Scottish people, this king earned himself the nickname “Hammer of the Scots.”
10. Hugh Grant
As one of the poshest men in Hollywood, it’s perhaps not that surprising to learn that Hugh Grant has more than one regal connection through his mother’s side. The actor is related to the first Tudor monarch, Henry VII, as well as King James IV of Scotland – the last British monarch to lose his life in battle.
9. Johnny Depp
Popular BBC TV show Who Do You Think You Are? was responsible for unearthing the royal bloodline of Johnny Depp. According to genealogist Nick Barratt, the actor’s family tree can be traced all the way back to Edward III of England, the long-reigning medieval king who turned England into a force to be reckoned with.
8. Paris Hilton
Who knew that one of the celebrity world’s most pampered “princesses” actually has legitimate royal blood? Yes, Paris Hilton actually shares an ancestor with the Queen in the shape of Henry II – the 12th century warrior king who, coincidentally, was also pretty active on the party scene.
7. Kit Harington
Kit Harington is no stranger to the world of kings and queens as Game of Thrones’ famously resurrected Jon Snow. But the actor also has a real-life regal connection to Charles II, via his paternal grandmother. This 17th century king wasn’t quite as well-behaved as Jon Snow, though – he reportedly fathered 12 illegitimate children by a number of different mistresses.
6. Michael Douglas
Michael Douglas is a member of one of Hollywood’s most famous Hollywood dynasties, but he’s also a very distant member of the Windsor dynasty. The actor is actually 19th cousin once removed of the Queen, as the pair are both descendants of Edward III.
5. Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal
Thespian siblings Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal are direct descendants of King Edward III, and as such the Queen’s 19th cousins. And the brother and sister also share a bloodline with the Swedish noble family, too, as the regal pair are descended from 17th century cavalry lieutenant Nils Gunnarssson Haal.
4. Ellen DeGeneres
Ellen DeGeneres has set her sights on forming a bond with Kate Middleton after learning that the two are actually 15th cousins. The comedienne, who is related to Middleton through her ancestor Edward III, once joked that she was going to track her down at an upcoming Wimbledon tournament.
3. Laura Dern
As with the Gyllenhaal siblings, Johnny Depp and Michael Douglas, Laura Dern also shares a bloodline with Edward III. And as a result, the acclaimed actress is reported to be the 19th cousin thrice removed of Queen Elizabeth II.
2. Brooke Shields
Brooke Shields has not just one but two regal connections in her bloodline. While appearing on Who Do You Think You Are?, the actress discovered that she’s the 18th cousin once removed of the Queen and a possible descendant of Catherine de Medici, the former Queen of France, to boot.
1. Hilary Duff
But the title of most royal celebrity, according to a study conducted by FindMyPast.com, goes to none other than former tween queen Hilary Duff. And as the Queen’s 18th cousin, the singer and actress has a fairly distinctive bloodline, too – her royal ancestor is Edward III’s great-grandson Alexander Spotswood, while she’s also reportedly related to Henry VIII’s illegitimate daughter Catherine Carey.