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House of Windsor

House of Windsor

Antigua and Barbuda
New Zealand
Papua New Guinea
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Lucia
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Solomon Islands

United Kingdom
Parent house WettinSaxe-Coburg and Gotha
Titles Various
Founded 1917
Founder George V
Current head Elizabeth II

The House of Windsor is the royal proclamation on 17 July 1917, when he changed the name of the British Royal Family from the German Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (a branch of the House of Wettin) to the English Windsor, due to the anti-German sentiment in the British Empire during World War I.[1] The most prominent member of the House of Windsor is its head, Queen Elizabeth II.


  • Foundation 1
  • Descendants of Elizabeth II 2
  • Members 3
    • Family tree 3.1
  • Titles 4
    • Designation and details 4.1
    • List of monarchs of the House of Windsor 4.2
  • See also 5
  • Notes 6
  • References 7
  • Bibliography 8
  • External links 9


"A Good Riddance"; propaganda cartoon from Punch, Vol. 152, 27 June 1917, commenting on the King having ordered the relinquishing of the German titles held by members of his family

Nicholas II, the Emperor of Russia, was forced to abdicate, which raised the spectre of the eventual abolition of all the monarchies in Europe. The King and his family were finally convinced to abandon all titles held under the German Crown and to change German titles and house names to anglicised versions. Hence, on 17 July 1917, a royal proclamation issued by George V declared:

The name had a long association with monarchy in Britain, through the town of House of Hanover—of their British titles and styles of prince and princess.

Upon hearing that his cousin had changed the name of the British royal house to Windsor and in reference to Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor, German Emperor Wilhelm II remarked jokingly that he planned to see "The Merry Wives of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha".[3]

Descendants of Elizabeth II

Succession to the British throne - family tree (2015)

In 1947, Philip Mountbatten. He was a member of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, a branch of the House of Oldenburg, and had been a prince of Greece and Denmark. However, Philip, a few months before his marriage, abandoned his princely titles and adopted the surname Mountbatten, which was that of his uncle and mentor, Earl Mountbatten of Burma, and had itself been adopted by Lord Mountbatten's father (Philip's maternal grandfather), Prince Louis of Battenberg, in 1917. It is the literal translation of the German Battenberg, which refers to Battenberg, a small town in Hesse.

Soon after Elizabeth became Queen in 1952, the Earl Mountbatten (as Philip's uncle was then known) advocated that she change the name of her royal house to House of Mountbatten; it was the standard practice for the wife in a marriage to adopt her husband's surname. When Elizabeth's grandmother, Queen Mary, heard of this suggestion, she informed British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and he later advised the Queen to issue a royal proclamation declaring that the royal house was to remain known as the House of Windsor. This she did on 9 April 1952, officially declaring it her "Will and Pleasure that I and My children shall be styled and known as the House and Family of Windsor, and that my descendants who marry and their descendants, shall bear the name of Windsor."[4] Philip privately complained, "I am nothing but a bloody amoeba. I am the only man in the country not allowed to give his name to his own children."[5]

On 8 February 1960, after the death of Queen Mary and the resignation of Churchill, the Queen confirmed that she and her children would continue to be known as the House and Family of Windsor, as would any agnatic descendants who enjoy the style of Royal Highness and the title of Prince or Princess.[4] Still, Elizabeth also decreed that her agnatic descendants who do not have that style and title would bear the surname Mountbatten-Windsor.[4]

This came after some months of correspondence between the Prime Minister Harold Macmillan and the constitutional expert Edward Iwi. Iwi had raised the prospect that the Royal child due to be born in February 1960 would bear "the Badge of Bastardy" if it were given its mother's maiden name (Windsor) rather than its father's name (Mountbatten). Macmillan had attempted to rebuff Iwi, until the Queen advised the acting Prime Minister Rab Butler in January 1960 that for some time she had had her heart set on a change that would recognise the name Mountbatten. She clearly wished to make this change before the birth of her child. The issue did not affect Prince Charles or Princess Anne, as they had been born with the name Mountbatten, before the Queen's accession to the throne.[6] Prince Andrew was born 11 days later, on 19 February 1960.

Any future monarch can change the dynastic name through a similar royal proclamation, as royal proclamations do not have statutory authority.[7]


The 1917 proclamation stated that the name of the Royal House and all British descendants of Victoria and Albert in the male line were to bear the name of Windsor, except for women who married into other families.

By early 1919 the living male-line British descendants of Victoria subject to British rule were King George V, his five sons, his daughter Princess Mary, his unmarried sister Princess Victoria, his uncle Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, his cousin Prince Arthur of Connaught, his cousin once removed Prince Alastair of Connaught, and his unmarried cousin Princess Patricia of Connaught. Prince Alastair and Princess Victoria died unmarried and childless. Princess Mary married into the Lascelles family, and Princess Patricia married Alexander Ramsay. Neither of the Prince Arthurs had any further children, meaning all subsequent members of the House of Windsor descend from the sons of George V.

Two of George V's sons, Prince George, Duke of Kent.

Family tree


Designation and details

At the creation of the House of Windsor, its head reigned over a unitary Elizabeth II, have also been Head of the Commonwealth of Nations, comprising most (but not all) parts of the former British Empire and some states that were never part of it.

In the chart below, the countries are differentiated between light green (realms of the House of Windsor as Dominions), medium green (present realms of the House of Windsor), and dark green (former realms of the House of Windsor).

1920 1925 1930 1935 1940 1945 1950 1955 1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010
Antigua and Barbuda
The Bahamas
The Gambia
Indian Empire
Union of India
Irish Free State[N 2]
New Zealand
Papua New Guinea
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Lucia
St Vincent and the Grenadines
Sierra Leone
Solomon Islands
South Africa
Trinidad and Tobago
United Kingdom
1920 1925 1930 1935 1940 1945 1950 1955 1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010

List of monarchs of the House of Windsor

Portrait Name From Until Relationship with predecessor
King George V 6 May 1910 20 January 1936 Son of Edward VII. Founder, House of Windsor.
King Edward VIII 20 January 1936 11 December 1936 Son of George V; Abdicated
King George VI 11 December 1936 6 February 1952 Son of George V and brother of Edward VIII
Queen Elizabeth II 6 February 1952 reigning Daughter of George VI

See also


  1. ^ After his abdication in 1936, King Edward VIII became the Duke of Windsor.
  2. ^ In 1936, virtually all of the functions of the monarch in the Irish Free State were removed, although the monarch was empowered to sign treaties and accredit diplomats when authorised to do so (see Executive Authority (External Relations) Act 1936). In 1937, a new constitution created the office of President of Ireland to perform many of the functions of a head of state. In 1949, the Republic of Ireland Act 1948 unambiguously severed links with the monarchy. In 1952, Elizabeth II was the first head of the House of Windsor who did not refer to Ireland (but instead to just Northern Ireland) in her regal style.


  1. ^ McGuigan, Jim (2001). "'"British identity and 'people's princess. The Sociological Review 48 (1).  
  2. ^ The London Gazette: no. 30186. p. 7119. 17 July 1917.
  3. ^ Carter, Miranda (2010), George, Nicholas and Wilhelm: Three Royal Cousins and the Road to World War I, Random House, p. xxiii,  
  4. ^ a b c Royal Styles and Titles – 1960 Letters Patent
  5. ^ Brandreth, Gyles (2004). Philip and Elizabeth: Portrait of a Marriage. p.253–254. London: Century. ISBN 0-7126-6103-4
  6. ^ Travis, Alan (18 February 1999). The Guardian"Queen feared 'slur' on family", . Retrieved 17 April 2014
  7. ^ The Royal Family name, Royal Household, retrieved 15 February 2011


External links

  • Royal Family Name from
  • House of Windsor from
  • House of Windsor Tree from (Lord Culloden & Albert+Leopold Windsor are missing)
House of Windsor
Preceded by
House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Ruling House of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms
Succeeded by
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