Do you have royal blood? It’s not as uncommon as you might imagine. Lots of kings and queens of centuries past had many children. These children married into noble families. As the centuries wore on, only the older children of these royal children and grandchildren would marry into the top noble families. The younger ones would marry minor nobles, knights, or commoner heiresses. Eventually, some lines of a royal family married down so much that they were no longer royal at all. This does not mean the descendants of the kings and queens of old do not have royal blood flowing through their veins to this day.
While not everyone will find a royal ancestor in their family tree, enough do to mean a number of lineage societies now exist to welcome these long-lost royal heirs. If you are descended from an ancient king or queen, or even a more modern one, and you know it and can prove it with documentation that connects each generation to the next, you can join one or more of these royal lineage societies (depending on which king or queen from which you are descended).
1. Descendants of the Illegitimate Sons and Daughters of the Kings of Britain
There were often just as many (and sometimes more) illegitimate royal offspring than legitimate ones. Some kings even made their illegitimate children their heirs when they did not procure any legitimate ones. Henry VIII famously considered this with his illegitimate son, Henry FitzRoy, before his first and only legitimate son, Edward VI, was born. If you are descended from an illegitimate royal child, you can join this society. – join
2. Order of the Crown of Charlemagne in the United States
If you are a descendant of this famous 9th-century French king, and an American, you can join this illustrious society. – join
3. The Plantagenet Society
Are you a direct line descendant from one of the Plantagenet kings of England? If so, you can join this society. It is open to descendants of legitimate offspring only. – join
4. Order of the Merovingian Dynasty
Descendants of legitimate children of the monarchs of the French Merovingian dynasty are eligible to join this group. – join
5. Sovereign Colonial Society of Americans of Royal Descent
If you are descended in a direct line from any king or queen from any country in any century and are an American, this society is for you. – join
6. Baronial Order of Magna Charta
This society is for direct descendants of the barons who signed the Magna Charta with King John of England. Many of the barons have ancient royal ancestry or have descendants who went on to marry into royal households, thus giving the families royal connections. Of the twenty-five barons who are known to have signed this document with King John, seventeen of them are known to have descendants living today, so you could qualify. You can also qualify if you are a direct descendant of King John. – join
These are the most well-known of the royal lineage societies. There are lesser known ones all over the world that you may hear about during your genealogical research. The most important thing to remember is that you need to document every generation from the royal one to the present. All births, deaths, and marriages must be documented with either primary evidence or two or more sources of secondary evidence for most societies. It can be a lot of work to gather all of this information, but it is well worth it to be able to say with definitive proof that you are of royal descent. Some societies may also hold regular meetings, so you can get together with other genetic cousins and share family history information.
Some societies have already identified individuals a little bit more recent in time who were definite descendants of the kings and queens in question. In these cases, all you have to do is prove you are descended from someone on the list of accepted descendants. This means a lot less paperwork for you, and your royal ancestry may be easier to prove
Other societies allow you to “piggyback” off the applications of accepted members who are using the same ancestors as you to qualify for membership. This can sometimes can several generations of research off of what you have to collect to prove your ancestry, as these previous members did a lot of the hard work for you already. And, of course, if a direct member of your family today is a member of one of these societies, you can use their application to qualify for membership, since you are related to them and they have already proven their descent from royalty.
Joining a royal lineage society is exciting and fun. If you know you are descended from any of the monarchs mentioned above, join their lineage societies. It is a great payoff to lots of years of genealogical research.