How Many Surnames Does The Royal Family Have? Explanatory Quide On A Complicated Noble Tradition

Date June 25, 2018

The royal family differs from other people by various aspects. However, one of the most intriguing facts, perhaps, is the absence of a surname. Technically, the British nobility does have their real surname, but its background is quite perplexed. Let’s break it down.


Historic background

The royal family members had no surname before 1917. As they were recognized everywhere, they simply didn’t need to differentiate from each other. Previously, if you were a royal, you had a dynasty or the name of the house that was your distinctive sign of the affiliation with the crown.


However, with the active World War I in 1917, King George V had to substitute the house name Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to Windsor due to its German origin. The chosen name came from one of the properties the royal family owned. That is how the British nobility received their first official surname.


Elizabeth's modification

However, the story doesn’t end here. George V's granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth II, decided she wanted to differentiate from other dynasties and added her husband’s name to George’s chosen Windsor.

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Philip, a former Greek and Danish prince, had an ancient local surname, Mountbatten. From then on, the royal family’s official surname became Mountbatten-Windsor.

Other family exceptions

Apart from that, there are some other modern exceptions of the royal surnames sophisticated history. Princes William and Harry, for example, used their territorial designation when they served in the military forces.


They were signed as William Wales and Harry Wales as their father is the Prince of Wales. Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice opted for the surname York as their father is, eventually, Prince Andrew, Duke of York.


Finally, perhaps the most deceitful tradition concerns Princes George and Louis and their sister, Princess Charlotte.

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The titles “His Royal Highness Prince” or “Her Royal Highness Princess” claim to need no surname at all. What a complicated tradition!

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