Some royal history for anyone catching up on Hulu's The Great

By Kimberly Truong
May 18, 2020 @ 10:45 am
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If binge-watching Hulu's The Great has you deep in a Wikipedia wormhole about the Russian royal family tree, you might have found that Princes William and Harry are actually descendants of Catherine the Great, the 18th century Empress upon which the show is loosely based. 

Apparently, the modern-day British royals can trace their lineage back to the Russian royals, thanks to Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth's husband. Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, was born into the Greek and Danish royal families, but his paternal grandmother, Olga Constantinovna of Russia, is the granddaughter of Nicholas I — making Philip the great-great-grandson of Nicholas I, the Emperor of Russia from 1825 until 1855. Nicholas I is the son of Paul I, who is the son of Catherine the Great (portrayed in The Great by Elle Fanning).

Prince Philip also has connections to Russian royalty on his mother's side — his maternal grandmother, Princess Victoria of Hesse, was a sister of Alexandra Feodorovna, the last Tsarina of Russia. Back in 2007, remains of two children thought to be Maria and Alexei Romanov were found in a field, and Prince Philip gave a blood sample to help identify them. 

"I would like to go to Russia very much, although the bastards murdered half my family," the Duke of Edinburgh said at the time. 

Getty Images, Hulu

All of this, of course, makes Princes William and Harry, Philip's grandsons, direct descendants of the Russian royals (along with their children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis, and baby Archie). 

The royals may not watch The Crown, but maybe there's enough of a family tree distance for them to enjoy The Great