The Aztec Empire was new when Cortés brazenly conquered it from its native rulers. Its origins don't go back much farther than the early 1300s and its fall in 1521 was due to local politics as much as Cortés' conquest of Tenochtitlan. In reality, there was no "Aztec Empire" at all. Rather, it was a loose alliance of three geographically adjacent city-states that had focused their strength, by 1520, at Tenochtitlan, a location sitting roughly on present-day Mexico City. Likewise, there was no "Emperor" of the Aztec Alliance, but rulers of the individual city-states that deferred to the rule of the Tlatoani (king) of Tenochtitlan. And so begins our journey into the Tenochtitlan Royal Family.
|Acamapichtli, first Tlatoani of the Aztecs|
|Itzcoatl, Tlatoani of the Aztecs|
|The Aztec Empire, c. 1515|
|Moctezuma II, Tlatoani of the Aztecs|
|The Aztec Royal Family Tree|
Moctezuma's daughter, Techichpotzin, renamed Isabel, was deemed the heiress of the Aztec Empire in the eyes of the Spanish. All surviving lines of descent from Moctezuma descend from her, her two sisters, and her brother, Pedro Moctezuma. Pedro's son, Diego Luis, was brought to Spain by King Philip II where he married into the Spanish aristocracy. His son, Pedro Tesifón, became the 1st Count of Moctezuma de Tultengo in 1627. In 1766, the title was elevated to the status of Grandee of Spain, giving it a place in the Spanish House of Lords. In 1865 the county became the Duchy of Moctezuma by Isabella II of Spain. Today, the title holder still sits in the Spanish House of Lords and is considered one of the grandest noble families in Spain.
The three daughters of Moctezuma all passed on the royal blood as well. Isabel became something of a trader in husbands. She was betrothed to first her uncle and then her cousin before they both died. She then married a member of Cortés' expedition and was granted an encomienda (large property) after his death. She then married two other Spanish blokes in succession and produced children with both of them. And finally, she had one daughter out of wedlock with Cortés himself. At her death, her lands were divided up and her descendants quickly dispersed themselves among the new and old inhabitants of New Spain (Mexico).
While it is unlikely that any current European royal descends from Moctezuma, it is entirely possible that such a descent may occur in the future. The Spanish royal family has a long history of marrying younger children off to nobility and those younger children do sometimes inherit the throne. Unlike many recent royal families, the house of Moctezuma flows freely in America and in Spain and it is entirely likely that people born in the Valley of Mexico may have just a touch of Moctezuma's blood running through them as well.