At the outbreak of the First World War three cousins reigned over Europe's greatest powers - Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany and King George V of England. This two-part series looks at the role played by the three monarchs, and their relationships with each other, in the outbreak of war, arguing that it is far greater than historians have traditionally believed.
Runtime: 60 minutes
Royal Cousins at War - Cousin marriage - Netflix
Cousin marriage is marriage between cousins (i.e. people with common grandparents or people who share other fairly recent ancestors). Opinions and practice vary widely across the world. In some cultures and communities, cousin marriage is considered ideal and actively encouraged; in others, it is subject to social stigma. In some countries, this practice is common; in others it is uncommon but still legal. In others, it is seen as incestuous and is legally prohibited: it is banned in China and Taiwan, North Korea, South Korea, the Philippines and 24 of the 50 United States. Supporters of cousin marriage where it is banned may view the prohibition as discrimination, while opponents may appeal to moral or other arguments. Worldwide, more than 10% of marriages are between first or second cousins. In the past, cousin marriage was practised within indigenous cultures in Australia, North America, South America, and Polynesia. Various religions have ranged from prohibiting sixth cousins or closer from marrying, to freely allowing first-cousin marriage. Cousin marriage is an important topic in anthropology and alliance theory. Children of first-cousin marriages may have an increased risk of genetic disorders, particularly if their parents both carry a harmful recessive mutation, but this can only be estimated empirically, and those estimates are likely to be specific to particular populations in specific environments. Children of more distantly related cousins have less risk of genetic disorders. In fact, a study of Icelandic records indicated that marriages between third or fourth cousins (people with common great-great- or great-great-great-grandparents) may produce the most children and grandchildren.
Royal Cousins at War - Europe - Netflix
Early Medieval Europe continued the late Roman ban on cousin marriage; under the law of the Catholic Church, couples were forbidden to marry if they were within four degrees of consanguinity. In the ninth century, the church raised the number of prohibited degrees to seven and changed the method by which they were calculated. Eventually, the nobility became too interrelated to marry easily as the local pool of unrelated prospective spouses became smaller; increasingly, large payments to the church were required for exemptions (“dispensations”), or retrospective legitimizations of children, in what amounted to a 'protection racket' by the church. In 1215, the Fourth Lateran Council reduced the number of prohibited degrees of consanguinity from seven to four. The method of calculating prohibited degrees was changed also. Instead of the former practice of counting up to the common ancestor then down to the proposed spouse, the new law computed consanguinity by counting back to the common ancestor. In the Roman Catholic Church, unknowingly marrying a closely consanguineous blood relative was grounds for a declaration of nullity, but during the 11th and 12th centuries, dispensations were granted with increasing frequency due to the thousands of persons encompassed in the prohibition at seven degrees and the hardships this posed for finding potential spouses. After 1215, the general rule was that while fourth cousins could marry without dispensation, the need for dispensations was reduced. For example, the marriage of Louis XIV of France and Maria Theresa of Spain was a first-cousin marriage on both sides. It began to fall out of favor in the 19th century as women became socially mobile. Only Austria, Hungary, and Spain banned cousin marriage throughout the 19th century, with dispensations being available from the government in the last two countries. First-cousin marriage in England in 1875 was estimated by George Darwin to be 3.5% for the middle classes and 4.5% for the nobility, though this had declined to under 1% during the 20th century. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were a preeminent example. The 19th-century academic debate on cousin marriage developed differently in Europe and America. The writings of Scottish deputy commissioner for lunacy Arthur Mitchell claiming that cousin marriage had injurious effects on offspring were largely contradicted by researchers such as Alan Huth and George Darwin. In fact, Mitchell's own data did not support his hypotheses and he later speculated that the dangers of consanguinity might be partly overcome by proper living. Later studies by George Darwin found results that resemble those estimated today. His father, Charles Darwin, who did marry his first cousin, had initially speculated that cousin marriage might pose serious risks, but perhaps in response to his son's work, these thoughts were omitted from a later version of the book they published. When a question about cousin marriage was eventually considered in 1871 for the census, according to George Darwin, it was rejected on the grounds that the idle curiosity of philosophers was not to be satisfied.
Royal Cousins at War - References - Netflix