Republic Versus Monarchy - part one, section eight

Connected to the people?
The Royal Surname

When World War One broke out in 1914, putting Britain and Germany at war with each other, it seemed to many that it was ridiculous that the "rulers" of Britain were a German Royal Household. The then British Monarch, King George V, although born in Britain, was in fact a member of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (and, although rarely used, the royal family held the German surname of Wettin).(23)

In 1917 King George V renounced the family name of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (and of Wettin), and decreed that all descendants of Queen Victoria in the male line, who were British subjects, would adopt the surname of "Windsor" (Edward III had been styled Edward of Windsor, and Windsor Castle was the name of one of the royal residences).(24)

The issue of British Royal Households bearing German names did not end in 1917. According to normal British practice, a Queen's son and heir inherits the surname of his father. But, shortly after her accession to the throne in 1952, Queen Elizabeth II, decreed that her descendants (other than female descendants who marry, and their children) would bear the name of Windsor. In 1960 she changed the surname of her descendants from Windsor to Mountbatten-Windsor, but specifically excluded those styled Prince/Princess and Royal Highness, thus ensuing that the heir to the throne shall be called Windsor.(25)

So normally, Queen Elizabeth II's children would have borne the surname of their father, Prince Phillip of Greece, which was Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderberg-Glucksburgh. But when he became a naturalised British subject, shortly before his wedding to the then Princess Elizabeth, Prince Phillip took his mother's surname of Mountbatten. Ironically, his mother's surname itself had been Anglicised in 1917, from the German surname of Battenberg.(26)

So, in truth, it could be said that Britain and Australia are actually under the rule of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

And when King Charles III ascends to the throne (assuming he does), it could be said that Britain and Australia are actually under the rule of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderberg-Glucksburgh. Hardly a "British" name for a "British" King.

Republic Versus Monarchy

Australian Nationalism Information Database -