Queen Elizabeth II died on September 8, 2022, reigniting a longstanding rumor that the monarch had family ties to the Prophet Muhammad, the founding figure of the Islamic faith:
Contrary to many rumors that have spread following the Queen’s passing, the claim that Elizabeth II has ties to Muhammad is more than just a hoax or misconception. Her lineage has been traced through generations, and there are questions about Elizabeth’s possible descent from a Muslim princess named Zaida, as well as Zaida’s origins and children. The graphic included in journalist Arron Merat’s tweet above was previously published by The Times, a British newspaper, in 2018.
Talk to The temperature on the subject in 2018, English historian and TV personality David Starkey said the idea that Elizabeth was related by lineage to Muhammad was “not at all bizarre”, although it did not been verified or widely accepted by historians.
There were close ties between Spanish royalty and the Islamic Empire during Zaida’s lifetime, and Starkey noted in comments to The Times that “Spain’s medieval monarchs and Islamic royal houses were very close and totally intertwined”. Parts of modern Spain were actually ruled by the Umayyads, a Muslim caliphate.
The idea that members of the British royal family, vis-a-vis Queen Elizabeth II, are descendants of the Prophet Muhammad doesn’t exactly have the obscure origins of an unfounded and sketchy internet rumor. It is certainly plausible.
In 1986, the UPI newspaper reported that the revelation about his likely noble Islamic lineage came from a letter sent by Harold Brooks-Baker, genealogist and publishing director of Burke’s Peerage, an authority on British royalty. The purpose of the letter was not to reveal this trait, but to urge greater security for the royal family against what he described as a terrorist threat. Here’s how UPI reported it:
“The direct lineage of the royal family of the Prophet Muhammad cannot be relied upon to forever protect the royal family from Muslim terrorists,” he said. Probably realizing the link would come as a surprise to many, he added: “Little are the British people aware that the blood of Muhammad runs through the Queen’s veins. However, all Muslim religious leaders are proud of this fact. Brooks-Baker said the British royal family descended from Mohammed through the Arab kings of Seville, who once ruled Spain. By marriage their blood passed to the European kings of Portugal and Castile, and through them to the 15th century King Edward IV of England.
We messaged Burke’s Peerage asking about the matter, and will update this story when and if we receive a response.
Burgess, Kaya. “The Queen may be a child of the Prophet Muhammad.” The Times, 12 April 2018, www.thetimes.co.uk, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/queen-may-be-child-of-muhammad-k5xd9btcl.
“Muslims at Buckingham Palace. UPI, Oct. 10, 1986, https://www.upi.com/Archives/1986/10/10/MOSLEMS-IN-BUCKINGHAM-PALACE/4199529300800/.
“Muslims consider Queen Elizabeth’s ties to the Prophet Muhammad.” The Economist, 5 April 2018. https://www.economist.com/middle-east-and-africa/2018/04/05/muslims-consider-queen-elizabeths-ties-to-the-prophet-muhammad.