Queen Elizabeth II has reigned over the UK for 68 years, making her the longest-reigning monarch in British history. As such, her royal house of Windsor will end up going down in history as one of the most famous. Their family didn’t always have this name, as they altered their issue in the early 20th century.
What was the Royal Family name before Windsor?
The Windsor family is a relatively modern royal house, as it came to be in the early 20th century.
But it didn’t change with a new monarch, as one sitting king changed his original name mid-reign.
Before 1917, the Windsors went by the German Saxe Coburg-Gotha.
The family owes part of their German heritage to Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert.
Despite the Queen’s position, her children took on his name, and the house transitioned from Hanover.
The first king to bear the name was King Edward VII, who ruled until 1910 when his son took over.
George V encountered some problems with his name when, just eight years into his reign, World War One broke out.
The Great War whipped up both patriotic fervour and anti-German sentiment, which made some of the public uneasy about their monarch’s heritage.
The mood soured, even more, when German planes carried out bombing runs over London.
Infamous Gotha bombers levelled parts of the city, including a school in the east end.
The unfortunate similarity to the Royal Family’s name led George V to issue a letters patent on June 19, 1917, which changed their house to Windsor.
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He also purged every German title and replaced them with a British variant.
Following the change, each newborn heir of Queen Victoria and her husband would bear the Windsor name.
Queen Elizabeth II was the first monarch born a Windsor to take the throne in 1952.
The Queen has since pledged to continue the Windsor name and proclaimed her family would remain in the house despite suggestions to the contrary.
When she married Prince Philip, his uncle suggested she take the family name of Mountbatten as was custom at the time.
When her grandmother, Queen Mary heard, she informed Winston Churchill, who urged then Princess Elizabeth to keep to Windsor.
She did just so and issued a proclamation to that effect in 1952.
The proclamation read: “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.”