Queen heartbreak: Devastating tragedy behind Her Majesty’s Royal Family surname unveiled


ROYAL FAMILY members owe their modern surname to a devastating accident which forced the monarch at the time to act swiftly in support of the British public.

The Royal Family switched the German-sounding Saxe-Coburg-Gotha surname for the more British Windsor at the height of World War I. King George V maintained the name up until 1917 but was ultimately forced to change it to show his support for the nation after a major tragedy hit London. Royal expert Nick Bullen told True Royalty TV: “The reason the Royal Family are called Windsor is because of Windsor Castle.

“Back in 1917, the family were called Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, a very German name. In fact, the Royal Family were German.

“George V was on the throne, his wife Mary was a German, Princess Mary of Teck. But a bomber came into London in the First World War and bombed a school in the East End of London, and killed a lot of schoolchildren.

“And the bomber was called a Gotha bomber, the family were called Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.”

Mr Bullen said the aftermath of the accident had the King face pressure from royal staff to reconsider his family’s German surname in favour of something more patriotic.

royal family news queen elizabeth ii surname

The Royal Family adopted the Windsor surname in the midst of World War 1 (Image: GETTY)

royal family history king george v world war i

George V changed his family’s surname after a Gotha bomber struck a school in East London (Image: GETTY)

He continued: “The private secretary to the King said, ‘Your Majesty, you can’t have a German name anymore when your name is being used to bomb your people.’

“So they had to come up with a new name. They started thinking what that new name would be. Would it be Plantagenet? Too Middle Ages. Tudor? Bit too bloody. Would it be something brand new?

“What they landed on was Windsor the castle, the home of the Royal Family, the most British thing you could think of.

“So suddenly, there’s a brand new name for the British royals, Windsor, the pure British name.”

 royal family windsor castle surname queen

The Royal Family took up the name Windsor in honour of Windsor Castle (Image: GETTY)

Queen Elizabeth II was the first grandchild of the King to bear the Windsor surname at birth in 1926 as her cousins from her aunt Princess Mary took on their father’s surname Lascelles.

While the official name of the British Royal Family remains Windsor, a declaration issued in 1960 allowed all male heirs of the Queen and Prince Philip to use the surname Mountbatten-Windsor in official documents.

The Duke of Edinburgh had hoped to have his children take on his name since the birth of Prince Charles but was forced to desist following backlash from the Government.

The surname debate reignited ahead of the birth of Prince Andrew in 1960 and the Queen ultimately conceded for the surname to be used when one is required.

Prince philip news royal family latest

Prince Philip had wanted his children to be known as Mountbatten but was rejected until 1960 (Image: GETTY)

royal family windsor surname latest

Children of the Queen have been allowed to use the Mountbatten-Windsor name through the years (Image: EXPRESS.CO.UK)

Both Prince Anne and the Duke of York styled themselves as Mountbatten-Windsor in the official marriage registry entries as has Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge when filing a suit against a French magazine in the early 2000s.

Prince Edward adopted the Mountbatten-Windsor name for his two children, Lady Louise and James, Viscount Severn, after he agreed with the Queen any child born of his marriage to Sophie, the Countess of Wessex would not be styled His or Her Royal Highness.

Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, was the latest member of the Royal Family to take on the name at the birth of his son Archie, who did not receive an HRH style and is formally known as Master Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.