Weird History
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The British Royal Family May Be Descended From The Mermaid On Your Starbucks Cup

Updated December 18, 2020 12.1k views14 items

There's a scandal brewing in the world of coffee, and it's not about the Starbucks red cups. This story goes much deeper, all the way back to a mythical fairy serpent who transformed into a dragon. The mysterious woman, called Melusina or Melusine, is also supposedly related to the British royal family, making them among the weirdest royals in history.

It wouldn't be the first scandal for the British monarchy. But who is the water goddess Melusine, ancestor of Jacquetta of Luxembourg? Melusine was the daughter of a Scottish king and a fairy queen, and her own mother cursed her to transform into a serpent from the waist down every Saturday. That didn't stop Melusine from marrying a lord and giving birth to 10 children, including the ancestors of multiple royal families. Through Jacquetta of Luxembourg's descendants, Melusine's fairy blood allegedly flows in the veins of all British monarchs dating back to the 15th century.

And the royal connection is just one part. The famous Starbucks mermaid isn't a mermaid at all - according to Starbucks logo history, it comes from a 16th-century woodcut of a siren. Who is on the Starbucks cup? That's Melusine, the fairy princess who could build a castle in one night and - spoiler - also inspired Ariel from The Little Mermaid.

  • The Starbucks Mermaid Is Actually An Ancient Fairy Goddess

    The mermaid with two tails on the Starbucks cup isn't actually a mermaid at all. She's the legendary Melusine, a mythical fairy princess who lived with a terrible curse. According to medieval legends, Melusine transformed every Saturday from a beautiful woman into a half-serpent creature. 

    A medieval image of the two-tailed serpent inspired the Starbucks logo, which originally showed the siren's bare breasts. And that's not all - Melusine is also reportedly the ancestor of all of Britain's monarchs dating back to the 15th century, when a controversial marriage supposedly mixed fairy blood with royal blood.

  • Photo: Heinrich Vogeler / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    She Was Cursed For Locking Her Father In A Mountain

    According to the legend, Melusine was the daughter of the King of Scotland and his fairy wife. She was both royal and a fairy, and when she was young, Melusine locked her father in a mountain. Melusine's vengeful mother punished the girl by transforming her into a serpent from the waist down every Saturday.

    In this story, Melusine is not your traditional mermaid. Instead, she's more like a shapeshifter or a werewolf, condemned to a weekly transformation that made her undesirable to men.

  • Photo: W. H. Mote / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    A Queen Of England Traced Her Line To Melusine Through Her Witchy Mother

    Elizabeth Woodville was a controversial queen, to say the least. She was also the link between the British royal family and Melusine. In 1464, during the Wars of the Roses, King Edward IV secretly married the beautiful Elizabeth, who came from a Lancastrian family without royal rank. Rather than securing his rule by marrying into another European royal family, as most kings did, Edward followed his heart, choosing a widow as his bride.

    But Elizabeth did have a claim to royal blood through her mother, Jacquetta of Luxembourg, a member of the powerful ducal Luxembourg dynasty. Jacquetta traced her family back to the myth of Melusine, arguing that she was a descendant of the fairy princess, as she had - according to legend - married Jacquetta's ancestor, Siegfried. In short, this means that the current British royal family is allegedly descended from Melusine, a tempting water goddess and the inspiration for the mermaid on the Starbucks cup.

  • Photo: James William Edmund Doyle / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Jacquetta Was Accused Of Using Witchcraft To Capture The King

    When Edward's enemies learned that he had married Elizabeth Woodville, a woman who brought very little to the union, they instantly suspected dark magic to be at play. Jacquetta, Elizabeth's mother, was accused of using witchcraft to snare the king.

    In 1469, Thomas Wake accused Jacquetta of witchcraft. As evidence, Wake presented "an image of lead made like a man of arms of the length of a man's finger broken in the middle and made fast with a wire, saying that it was made by [Jacquetta] to use with witchcraft and sorcery." Jacquetta was arrested and brought to Warwick Castle, at the same time that her son-in-law the king was being held by the Earl of Warwick. But once the king escaped, the case fell apart. It wasn't Jacquetta's last brush with witchcraft accusations, however.