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Old 02-21-2011, 07:13 AM
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Incestuous Royal Marriages

Legally Catherine of Aragon was married incestually because she as widow of one brother married the other after the first hausband's death. But that's just a formality. History has shown that Royal families did not hesitate to form very close bonds between them. While a marriage of cousin and cousin happened quite often, marriages between unles and nieces are rare - but they happened, too.

One example is the marriage of Antoinette Marie of Wuerttemberg to Ernst I. of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. Marie's mother Antoinette of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld was the sister of the groom.

Then there are the three uncle-niece marriages of the Spanish and Austrian Habsburgs:

- Philipp II. married Anna of Austria, the daughter of his sister Marie.
- Archduke Charles II of Austria-Innerösterreich married Maria Anna of Bavaria, daughter of his sister Anna of Austria.
- Philipp IV. married Marianna of Austria, daughter of his sister Maria Anna.

As you can see, the last three uncle-niece-marriages happened in the House of Habsburg between 1550 and 1660 in the direct line leading to Philipp IV. of Spain and his wife Marianna of Austria. Their child is the sad, sick Don Carlos of Schillerian fame...

Not 100 years later, the House of Habsburg ended in the male line. But of course the marriage of Maria Theresia of Austria to Francis Stephan of Lorraine brought new blood into the family..

Do you know of other examples?
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Old 02-21-2011, 07:18 AM
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I know that in Ancient Egypt the incestuous marriage to siblings was like a habit,in other words a usual practice .For example,the famous Cleopatra was married to her brother.
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Old 02-21-2011, 10:34 AM
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In Portugal there are two cases of marriages to uncles, regarding the only female monarchs.

D. Maria I (1734-1816) married her uncle, Pedro de Bragança (1717-1786) who became D. Pedro III, in 1760.

Her greatgranddaughter, D. Maria II (1819-1853) married her uncle D. Miguel (1802-1866) by proxy in 1826. This marriage was annulled in 1834. This annullment had nothing to do with the close relationship between the spouses (there had been a papal dispensation) but because it had been contracted in an attempt to end the liberal civil wars. D. Miguel didn't fulfill his part of the agreement (he was on the absolutist side) and the marriage ended being annulled. D. Maria II later married Auguste of Beauharnais in 1834 by proxy and personnally in January 1835, although he died in March that year.
She finally married Fernando de Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (1816-1885) in 1836. After the birth of their first son, he became D. Fernando II.
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Old 02-21-2011, 11:21 AM
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How close do you have to be for it to count as "incestuous"?
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Old 02-21-2011, 12:07 PM
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How close do you have to be for it to count as "incestuous"?
Close realtives of the first degree, like sister, brother, nice, nephew, mother, father, uncle and aunt.
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Old 02-21-2011, 12:22 PM
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As odd as it may seem to the world today. I know in ancient Egypt marriage between Father, and daughter. Or marriage between brother and sister was done to keep the "royal blood line". Incest is sexual relations between blood relatives that are too close to be married.
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Old 02-21-2011, 12:43 PM
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I know that there is an uncle/niece marriage in the 'senior' Stuart line to the British Throne. I can't quite remember where it comes, but it invalidates any claim from this source, as first cousins are the closest consanguinity allowed by both English and Scots law.
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Old 02-21-2011, 12:52 PM
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In the Spanish Royal Family it appears that such marriages were a sort of habit:
- in 1779 Infanta Maria Amalia (Carlos IV's daughter) married her paternal uncle Infante Antonio;
- in 1816 King Fernando VII married his niece Infanta Isabel of Portugal (daughter of his sister Carlota Joaquina);
- in 1829 again King Fernando VII married his niece Princess Maria Cristina of the Two Sicilies (daughter of his sister Maria Isabel);
- in 1816 Infante Carlos married to his niece Infanta Maria Francisca of Portugal (daughter of his sister Carlota Joaquina);
- in 1838 Infante Carlos married to his niece and sister-in-law Infanta Teresa of Portugal (another daughter of his sister Carlota Joaquina, and sister of the above mentioned Isabel and Maria Francisca);
- in 1819 Infante Francisco de Paula (brother of Fernando VII) married to his niece Princess Luisa Carlotta of the Two Sicilies (daughter of his sister Isabel, and sister of the above mentioned Maria Cristina; later Francisco de Paula and Luisa's son, Francisco de Asis, married to Fernando and Maria Cristina's daughter, Queen Isabel II).

Several other descendants of these couples married among themselves.
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Old 02-21-2011, 01:13 PM
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It has always seemed very strange to me that no-one in the Spanish RF realised a very basic biological fact, which was that marrying close relatives was not a healthy practice. This was somethat that was understood by even the most isolated and 'primitive' human societies - who made it 'taboo' for a woman to marry a man from her own family group. Perhaps they were so blinded by their belief in their superiority that they didn't think this basic fact applied to them! :-)
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Old 02-21-2011, 01:33 PM
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I agree with you Alison20. "Feelings of being superior" leads to all kinds of "unthinkable" things.
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Old 02-21-2011, 01:56 PM
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As previously noted, the inbreeding really affected the Spanish royal house.

According to Wikipedia:

17th century European noble culture commonly matched cousin to first cousin and uncle to niece, to preserve a prosperous family's properties. Charles's own immediate pedigree was exceptionally populated with nieces giving birth to children of their uncles: Charles's mother was a niece of Charles's father, being a daughter of Maria Anna of Spain (1606–46) and Emperor Ferdinand III. Thus, Empress Maria Anna was simultaneously his aunt and grandmother.[1] This inbreeding had given many in the family hereditary weaknesses. That Habsburg generation was more prone to still-births than were peasants in Spanish villages.[2]

There was also insanity in Charles's family; his great-great-great(-great-great, depending along which lineage one counts) grandmother, Joanna of Castile ("Joanna the Mad"), mother of the Spanish King Charles I (who was also Holy Roman Emperor Charles V) became insane early in life. Joanna was two of Charles' 16 great-great-great-grandmothers, six of his 32 great-great-great-great-grandmothers, and six of his 64 great-great-great-great-great-grandmothers.


I've bolded several points. Its worth mentioning that Carlos II of Spain was noted for his "extensive physical, intellectual, and emotional disabilities" which many attribute to the inbreeding.
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Old 03-11-2011, 03:07 PM
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Legally Catherine of Aragon was married incestually because she as widow of one brother married the other after the first hausband's death. But that's just a formality. History has shown that Royal families did not hesitate to form very close bonds between them. While a marriage of cousin and cousin happened quite often, marriages between unles and nieces are rare - but they happened, too.
I'm surprised no one else saw the error of this.

Catherine's marriage to Henry was based on the levirate marriage [a yibbum]. it was NOT incest. That is absurd.

I guess the post-modernism of Europe has made some forget their roots [biblical roots].
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Old 03-11-2011, 06:28 PM
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You are smart, Smart. It wasn't incest and many people in Eastern Europe, many years ago, if a husband died, it was his brother's resposibility to marry the widow.
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Old 03-11-2011, 06:59 PM
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It has to be a blood relative to be incest. (I'm only adding this to make it perfectly clear to readers who might not know the words "levirate marriage [a yibbum].")
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Old 03-21-2011, 08:29 PM
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Queen maud of Norway married her maternal cousin, haakon VII since they are both grandchildren of King Christian IX of Denmark

Princess Irene of Hesse and by Rhine married her maternal cousin prince Heinrich of Prussia and had 3 sons, is that right?

Princess Victoria Melita of Saxe Coburg and Gotha had married firstly her cousin grand duke Ernst Ludwig of Hesse and had a daughter by him but died young, she secondly married her maternal cousin grand duke Cyril Vladimirovich and had two girls and one boy.

King carol II of Romania married his cousin Helen
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Old 03-21-2011, 08:45 PM
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Even though not incest I would add the most famous first cousin marriage I can think of that of Queen Victoria's to Albert. 9 children resulted.
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Old 03-21-2011, 08:47 PM
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But where they first cousins or first once removed?

Without looking it up...the Duchess of Kent was the sister of Albert's father or Leopold? I can't remember.
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Old 03-21-2011, 08:55 PM
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I'm surprised no one else saw the error of this.

Catherine's marriage to Henry was based on the levirate marriage [a yibbum]. it was NOT incest. That is absurd.

I guess the post-modernism of Europe has made some forget their roots [biblical roots].
Actually if you read the post, it said LEGALLY. Back in those times it was legally considered incest to marry ones brother's widow. Or if you're first wife died, you couldn't marry her sister. I don't think it was called incest, but considered the same thing, it was called continuity. They could get special dispensation from the Pope though to allow for it.

It was why Henry had such a horrific time divorcing Catherine. Divorces were not that uncommon. But he had recieved dispensation from the Pope, which meant her marriage to Arthur should not interfere. He recieved the dispensation on the grounds Arthur was so sick, the marriage was never consumated.Something about brother's seed entering the same womb, makes it incest back then. That is why he kept trying to force Catherine to admit she had sex with Arthur. It also didn't help her beloved nephew was the King of Spain, and didn't take kindly to his Aunt being cast aside for a commoner whore. He had a lot of control, including military custody of the Pope at one time, to make the Pope side with her.

Levirate is a Jewish concept, not a christian one. It would have held no weight in midevil European culture.
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Old 03-21-2011, 09:12 PM
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In Portugal there are two cases of marriages to uncles, regarding the only female monarchs.

D. Maria I (1734-1816) married her uncle, Pedro de Bragança (1717-1786) who became D. Pedro III, in 1760.
And her son Pedro,"product" of uncle and niece was married to his own aunt Maria Francisca who was a sister to his mother and the other niece of his father,who was at the same time his grandfathers younger brother!
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Old 03-21-2011, 09:30 PM
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And her son Pedro,"product" of uncle and niece was married to his own aunt Maria Francisca who was a sister to his mother and the other niece of his father,who was at the same time his grandfathers younger brother!
Yikes!

Certainly incest. In my family, if you're related - the person is tabu. No first cousins, no first cousins once removed, no second cousins - and my grandmother, in particular, belongs to a family that treasures genealogical records.

I guess if you're raised from birth with the idea that cousin marriage is expected and works, it wouldn't seem so strange.
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