If the closest you’ve come to paying attention to royal family trees is the lineup on Game of Thrones, then we’ve got something to throw at you. The bloodline of Britain’s royal family holds some surprises of its own.

As the world spins enamored with the love story of Prince Harry and his girlfriend Meghan Markle, it’s been recently revealed that they are distant cousins. An independent investigation was conducted by Daily Mail into the extensive roots of the British monarchy.

The royal connection between the two lovebirds lies with one of the Queen Mother’s ancestors, from whom Thomas Markle – Meghan’s father – is also descended. A trace back to 1480 showed the birth of Ralph Bowes, who later became a High Sheriff of County Durham in England.

His granddaughter Bridget Bowes started the line that produced Meghan many generations later. Within that line are a sea captain who came to America and founded Nantucket, and a descendant of Scottish royalty.

Sir George Bowes – a grandson of Ralph Bowes – is a progenitor of Queen Elizabeth II’s line on her mother’s side. This side produced the Bowes-Lyon clan, of which the Queen Mother is named. According to the family tree mapped out by the Daily Mail, Prince Harry and Meghan are 15th cousins.

Over the centuries the Bowes-Lyon family acquired their own estate which passed on through male heirs. That included Streatlam Castle, which was demolished in 1959.

It’s not an uncommon practice at all for British royals to marry within the family, something typically done to preserve dynasties and aristocratic lineages. Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip are third cousins who share Queen Victoria as a common ancestor. She was their great-great-grandmother.

As it were, Queen Victoria and her husband, Prince Albert, were also first cousins. Though Meghan and Prince Harry’s connection is more obscure, long-lasting marriages (and loves stories) have flourished within the royal family.

Actress Meghan Markle’s humble beginnings as a California girl who grew up with non-royal parents are quite different from her boyfriend’s. Nonetheless, royal watchers who have been following the romance between her and the prince are anxiously awaiting news of a proposal.

A marriage between an American actress and one of Britain’s most popular royals is the stuff of fairy tales and media scrutiny. As anticipation mounts about whether these two will say “I do”, it’s not unreasonable to think that Meghan’s heritage and genealogy will continue to be under the microscope. Check out this video from Wochit to hear more about these families.

One thing is clear: the prince doesn’t seem to mind what Meghan’s DNA says. The two seem genuinely happy and in love, which is what matters at the end of the day. If wedding bells are in their future, then surely they’ll be forging their own bloodline very soon. For now, people will have to wait and see what’s in store for these kissing distant cousins.

What are your thoughts of this distant relation between Prince Harry and his lady? What do you think about tracing bloodlines and ancestry? Have you traced yours?