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The House of Windsor only came into being in 1917, and over the course of the past 100 years or so, it has seen it all: war, constitutional crisis, scandalous love affairs and messy divorces. However, it remains one of the enduring constants in modern British history, and the Royal Family today remain widely respected across the country.
With little tangible political power or influence remaining, the House of Windsor has adapted to stay relevant in a changing world: a powerful combination of tradition and change has led to its remarkable popularity and survival despite assorted setbacks.
Writer and broadcaster Hugo Vickers comes on the show to sort the fact from the fiction about the Netflix hit-series 'The Crown'.Watch Now
George V (1910-36)
A monarch whose reign spanned major change across Europe, George V renamed the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha to the House of Windsor in 1917 as a result of anti-German sentiment. George was born in 1865, the second son of Edward, Prince of Wales. Much of his youth was spent at sea, and he later joined the Royal Navy, only leaving in 1892, after his older brother, Prince Albert, died of pneumonia.
Once George became directly in line to the throne, his life changed somewhat. He married Princess Mary of Teck, and they had six children together. George also received further titles, including Duke of York, had extra tutoring and education, and began to take on more serious public duties.
George and Mary were crowned in 1911, and later the same year, the pair visited India for the Delhi Durbar, where they were also officially presented as Emperor and Empress of India – George was the only monarch to actually visit India during the Raj.
The First World War was arguably the defining event of George’s reign, and the Royal Family were deeply concerned about anti-German sentiment. To help appease the public, the King renamed the British Royal house and asked his relatives to relinquish any German sounding names or titles, suspending British peerages titles for any pro-German relatives and even refusing asylum to his cousin, Tsar Nicholas II, and his family following their deposition in 1917.
George V and Tsar Nicholas II together in Berlin, in 1913.
As European monarchies fell as a result of revolution, war, and political regime change, King George became increasingly concerned about the threat of socialism, which he equated with republicanism. In an attempt to combat royal aloofness, and to engage more with ‘normal people’, the King cultivated positive relations with the Labour Party, and made attempts to cross class lines in a way not seen before.
Even in the early 1930s, it’s said George was worried about the growing power of Nazi Germany, advising ambassadors to be wary and speaking plainly about his concerns of another war on the horizon. After contracting septicaemia in 1928, the King’s health never fully recovered, and he died in 1936 following lethal injections of morphine and cocaine from his doctor.
Edward VIII (1936)
The oldest son of King George V and Mary of Teck, Edward gained a reputation for being something of a playboy in his youth. Handsome, youthful, and popular, his series of scandalous sexual liaisons worried his father who believed Edward would ‘ruin himself’ without his paternal influence.
On his father’s death in 1936, Edward ascended the throne to become King Edward VIII. Some were wary of his approach to kingship, and what was perceived to be his interference in politics: by this point, it was long established that it was not the monarch’s role to be too heavily involved in the day to day running of the country.
Behind the scenes, Edward’s long-standing affair with Wallis Simpson was causing a constitutional crisis. The new king was completely besotted with the divorced American Mrs Simpson, who was in the process of having her second marriage divorced by 1936. As Head of the Church in England, Edward could not marry a divorcee, and a morganatic (civil) marriage was blocked by the government.
In December 1936, the news of Edward’s infatuation with Wallis hit the British press for the first time, and he abdicated shortly afterwards, declaring
“I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge my duties as king as I would wish to do without the help and support of the woman I love.”
He and Wallis lived out the rest of their lives in Paris, as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.
King Edward VIII and Mrs Simpson on holiday in Yugoslavia, 1936.
George VI (1936-52)
The second son of King George V and Mary of Teck, and the younger brother of King Edward VIII, George – known as ‘Bertie’ to his family as his first name was Albert – never expected to become king. Albert served in the RAF and the Royal Navy during the First World War, and was mentioned in despatches for his role in the Battle of Jutland (1916).
In 1923, Albert married Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon: some viewed this as a controversially modern choice given she was not of royal birth. The pair had two children, Elizabeth (Lilibet) and Margaret. Following his brother’s abdication, Albert became king, assuming the name George as monarch: the relationship between the brothers was somewhat strained by the events of 1936, and George forbade his brother from using the title ‘His Royal Highness’, believing he had forfeited his claim to it on his abdication.
By 1937, it was becomingly increasingly clear that Hitler’s Germany was a threat to peace in Europe. Constitutionally bound to support the Prime Minister, it’s unclear what the King thought of the alarming situation. In early 1939, the King and Queen embarked on a royal visit to America in the hope of preventing their isolationist tendencies and keeping relations between the nations warm.
The Royal Family remained in London (officially, at least) throughout the Second World War, where they suffered the same depravations and rationing as the rest of the country, albeit in more luxurious conditions. The House of Windsor’s popularity was bolstered during the war, and the Queen in particular had huge support for her behaviour. Post-war, King George oversaw the start of the disbanding of empire (including the end of the Raj) and the changing role of the Commonwealth.
Following bouts of ill health exacerbated by the stress of the war and a lifelong addiction to cigarettes, King George’s health began to decline from 1949. Princess Elizabeth and her new husband, Philip, began to take on more duties as a result. The removal of his entire left lung in 1951 left the King incapacitated, and he died the following year from a coronary thrombosis.
Anne Glenconner has been at the centre of the royal circle from childhood, when she met and befriended the future Queen Elizabeth II and her sister, the Princess Margaret. Anne spoke to me from the resplendent saloon at Holkham Hall to discuss her truly remarkable life - a story of drama, tragedy and royal secrets. A story she reflects on with a charming sense of humour and true British spirit.Listen Now
Elizabeth II (1952-present)
Born in 1926 in London, Elizabeth was the oldest daughter of the future King George VI, and became heir presumptive in 1936, on her uncle’s abdication and father’s accession. During the Second World War, Elizabeth carried out her first official solo duties, was appointed a Councillor of State, and took up a role within the Auxiliary Territorial Service following her 18th birthday.
In 1947, Elizabeth married Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, who she had met years previously, aged just 13. Almost exactly a year later, in 1948, she gave birth to a son and heir, Prince Charles: the couple had four children in total.
Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh with their children, Prince Charles and Princess Anne.
Whilst in Kenya in 1952, King George VI died, and Elizabeth immediately returned to London as Queen Elizabeth II: she was crowned in June the following year, having announced the royal house would continue to be known as Windsor, rather than taking a name based on Philip’s family or ducal title.
Queen Elizabeth remains the longest-lived and longest-reigning monarch in British history: her reign has spanned the decolonisation of Africa, the Cold War, and devolution in the United Kingdom amongst many other sizeable political events.
Notoriously guarded and reluctant to give personal opinions on anything, the Queen takes her political impartiality as reigning monarch seriously: the House of Windsor has cemented the constitutional nature of British monarchy, and kept themselves relevant and popular by allowing themselves to become national figureheads – particularly during times of difficulty and crisis.
List of British monarchs
There have been 12 monarchs of Great Britain and the United Kingdom (see the Monarchy of the United Kingdom). A new Kingdom of Great Britain was formed on 1 May 1707 with the merger of the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland, which had been in personal union under the House of Stuart since 24 March 1603. On 1 January 1801, Great Britain merged with the Kingdom of Ireland (also previously in personal union with Great Britain) to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. After most of Ireland left the union on 6 December 1922, its name was amended on 12 April 1927 to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
House of Windsor
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house of Windsor, formerly (1901–17) Saxe-Coburg-Gotha or Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, the royal house of the United Kingdom, which succeeded the house of Hanover on the death of its last monarch, Queen Victoria, on January 22, 1901. The dynasty includes Edward VII (reigned 1901–10), George V (1910–36), Edward VIII (1936), George VI (1936–52), and Elizabeth II (1952– ). The heir apparent is Charles, prince of Wales. His elder son, Prince William, duke of Cambridge, is second in line to the British throne.
The dynastic name Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (German: Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha, or Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha) was that of Victoria’s German-born husband, Albert, prince consort of Great Britain and Ireland. Their eldest son was Edward VII. During the anti-German atmosphere of World War I, George V declared by royal proclamation (July 17, 1917) that all descendants of Queen Victoria in the male line who were also British subjects would adopt the surname Windsor.
Queen Elizabeth II’s children would normally have borne their father’s surname, Mountbatten (which itself had been Anglicized from Battenberg). However, in 1952, soon after her accession, she declared in council that her children and descendants would bear the surname Windsor. That decision was modified (February 8, 1960) to the effect that issue other than those styled prince or princess and royal highness should bear the name Mountbatten-Windsor.
The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica This article was most recently revised and updated by Adam Augustyn, Managing Editor, Reference Content.
Monarchy and the End of Empire: The House of Windsor, the British Government, and the Postwar Commonwealth
Philip Murphy’s Monarchy and the End of Empire is a carefully researched and beautifully presented book that chronicles the relationship between the monarchy, the UK government, and the decolonisation of the British Empire. In a tightly written 195 pages (plus a further 45 of endnotes and bibliography), the book takes us through, in chronological fashion, the period from 1918 to 2013 (additional material responding to on-going events being carefully sutured into the text until the final moment). The focus falls on the British political classes and the palace, and the ways in which both sought to shape, respond to, and carve out new roles within a rapidly changing geopolitical landscape formed through the tortuous, messy processes of the dissolution of the British Empire.
The interrelated histories of post-war Britain, empire, and decolonisation have recently been the subject of increasing interest. In focusing on two subjects rarely subject to proper academic scrutiny – the Queen and the palace on the one hand, and the post-war Commonwealth on the other – Murphy makes a novel and significant contribution to this burgeoning field, highlighting the contested role that both Crown and Commonwealth were understood to have in the process of Britain’s transition from imperial power.
The book demonstrates that, far from being seen as peripheral by actors in Britain, the post-war Commonwealth was viewed as an important, if not necessarily a positive force. Cast as moral compass, political opportunity, and signifier of multicultural progress, the Commonwealth was also understood as a threat, embarrassment, and as a reflection of the decline of post-imperial Britain.
For the palace, and Elizabeth II in particular (by virtue of her longevity in the role as Head of the Commonwealth) the transformation of the British Empire into a new form of organisation: ‘a voluntary association of independent and equal sovereign states’, provided opportunities.(1) These included the ability to fashion a new international role, separate from that as Queen of the United Kingdom (and the Monarch’s other realms) as ‘Head of the Commonwealth’. At a time when many former colonies and dominions were becoming republics either on or after independence, the Commonwealth provided an on-going official position and profile beyond the UK. Crucially, the Commonwealth Headship also provided the Queen with more freedom to act in her own capacity, rather than solely on the advice of her government(s).
The British government were more uncertain about the value of the post-war Commonwealth, and in particular, of its continued association with the Crown. Various actors in Whitehall realised the value of the Queen and the House of Windsor and were happy to deploy the Royal Family to improve relations with other Commonwealth countries (through tours and the overseeing of independence ceremonies), to add gravitas to Commonwealth meetings, and to intervene in intractable political problems, such as that of Rhodesia. However, the British government was not whole-hearted in supporting this relationship. Murphy notes in the introduction that the book emerged from a question raised by the archival record: why was United Kingdom government encouraging republicanism in countries preparing for independence when this might seem to run counter to a foreign policy aiming to retain links with, and influence over, countries becoming independent from the British Empire? The answer: ‘Officials and ministers feared that in involving the Crown in the politics of post-colonial Africa, they might be exposing the Queen to potential “embarrassment” in a way that would damage national prestige and undermine her capacity to serve as the focus of a specifically British national identity’ (p. 15, italics in original). On some occasions the book shows that the British government had other reasons for concern. For example, over the Queen’s attendance at the controversial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Lusaka, Zambia in 1979 (chapter eight), and over the issue of apartheid South Africa in the 1980s (chapter ten), it seemed that the palace was diametrically opposed to the British government, with very little that Whitehall could do about this. Unsurprisingly, given Murphy’s previous publications (2), the book is particularly strong on Conservative party politics and their relations to Crown and Commonwealth, although the machinations within other political parties, including the Wilson Labour government’s initial embrace of the Commonwealth, and the consequences for the Commonwealth of the reincarnation of the party as ‘New Labour’ in the 1990s are also subject to expert deconstruction.
Although the focus is on the palace and the British government, the book also examines the relationship between Crown and Commonwealth from a non-British perspective. For the Commonwealth Secretary-General and his (it has always been his) Commonwealth Secretariat staff, and politicians in other member countries, Murphy argues that the association with the British Royal Family has also been complex. At some points, for example during the discussions about holding the 1977 Heads of Government Meeting in London to coincide with the Queen’s silver jubilee, concerns were raised by those in the Secretariat that the occasion might give the impression of an imperial durbar, rendering the Commonwealth as merely ‘an adjunct of Britain and its royal family’ (p. 134). Nevertheless, the Commonwealth clearly benefitted materially from its association with the Crown. The Commonwealth Secretariat was housed from its founding in 1965 in Marlborough House, a royal palace, on the Queen’s suggestion, and the Commonwealth’s profile was raised through royal attendance at events and through the annual Christmas Day message. Moreover, Murphy shows that the Queen’s personal support and interventions made the difference at certain key political moments: smoothing atmospheres and urging action, particularly in relation to Rhodesia. In addition, the association with the Queen could be of value to Commonwealth leaders domestically leaders as diverse as Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana and Ian Smith of Rhodesia found the association with the Queen useful within their own national spheres.
The book argues convincingly that rather than being an irrelevance, the Crown, and its association with the Commonwealth, was valued by a whole range of actors in Britain and beyond who sought to use this relationship to bolster a wide variety of different agendas. These actors and agendas included those of the palace, and the Queen herself. The messiness and constitutional uncertainty of Commonwealth protocols and declarations, so clearly illustrated in Monarchy and the End of Empire, provided space for creativity. The surprisingly recent nature of many of the invented traditions that accompany the Commonwealth headship provide one example of the ways that this freedom has been acted upon.
Murphy’s approach is that of (in his words) a ‘conventional political history’, making his book unusual in a growing field largely dominated by a ‘focus on culture and representation’ (p. xiii). Using a kind of ‘documentary archaeology’ (ibid.), the author demonstrates the value and richness of traditional historical sources. As a self-confessed ‘archive rat’, Murphy has rooted out a wealth of fascinating tales from the TNA, the National Archives of Ireland, the Commonwealth Secretariat Archives, as well as other collections, most notably those of Conservative politicians at Churchill College Cambridge, and in the Bodleian Library, Oxford. The book draws extensively on these materials, but does so deftly in the text, maintaining a good balance between evidence, narrative, and analysis.
As the author stresses, much in relation to the views of the Queen has been removed from the archival record as a result of secrecy and paranoia from both the palace and Whitehall, making for significant methodological challenges. One of the book’s key arguments is that the royal family’s association with Commonwealth is as much about the use of this position by other actors (within the British government, within the Secretariat, and by other Commonwealth leaders) as it is about the Queen herself, so this absence can be partially filled by other sources. Nevertheless, some of the most compelling points for me are where – through Murphy’s forensic piecing together of the evidence present in multiple collections, as well as the telling gaps – we seem to be able to tangibly grasp the Queen’s views and agency at important moments. Here, the continuing value of spending significant time amongst the archives is clearly demonstrated.
Despite often being about legal and constitutional debates – a subject that could seem quite dry – Murphy’s text is most certainly not dull. It is punctuated throughout by an incisive commentary which leaves almost no actor without critical scrutiny. As well as subtly highlighting the racist assumptions of many, the book takes a delight in the snarky comments of officials, politicians, advisors of various hues in relation to each other, and particularly their counterparts in other Commonwealth nations. Murphy’s careful archival research gives us a clear idea of the ways in which national stereotypes animated Whitehall discussions over Canada’s strengthening republicanism for example. Seeking to explain this, ‘Canada’s “at times nauseatingly high-minded” attitude to racial questions was cited … [and] “the Candian winter”, it was suggested, made “for isolation, introspection, and inward-lookingness”’ (p. 100). On another occasion, when the suggestion was made that Commonwealth members should contribute to the redevelopment and management of Marlborough House, the Cabinet Secretary noted: ‘We certainly do not want to see the house cluttered up with statuary from India or Ghana, or even modern furniture from Canada or Australia’ (p. 125). This understated humour carries the book along and ensures that, far from a dry constitutional history, this is a colourful account full of people, their propensity to gossip, and their (often unfounded) judgements.
After a first chapter introducing ‘The holy family’ and outlining the methodological and theoretical approach taken, chapter two highlights the relationship between empire and the royal family, exploring attempts to construct an imperial crown between 1918–45, and the substantial challenges (such as the abdication crisis) to this. This sets the context for the chapters which follow, all of which provide a thematic and chronological exploration of the relationships between the British government, the palace, and decolonization. In chapter three we hear about the trials and tribulations of various royal tours, as well as the linguistic fudges by which the title of ‘Head of the Commonwealth’ was produced in reaction to India’s choice to become a republic in 1949. Chapter four focuses on Queen Elizabeth II – a central figure throughout the rest of the book – through an examination of her coronation and Commonwealth tour, 1952–4. The next two chapters explore the fascinating terrain of the relations between the ‘Winds of Change’ and the Royal Family (exploring for example how much the Queen knew of, and agreed with, the Suez invasion), and various reactions to the republicanism (and indeed monarchical loyalty) of the decolonising world. The royalist inclinations of Ian Smith’s Rhodesia after the Unilateral Declaration of Independence provide a particularly intriguing case. Following this, a chapter focuses on the 1960s, when Murphy demonstrates that as a result of the founding of the Commonwealth’s own Secretariat, and the increasingly diverse membership of the organisation, ‘the Commonwealth was increasingly coming to be regarded as something alien and hostile within British elite circles’ (p. 110). At the same time, this decade saw attempts to flesh out the role of the Head of the Commonwealth on the behalf of the palace, drawing the two British forces into conflict (not for the last time). Chapters eight, nine and ten focus on the Queen’s attendance at Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings in the 1970s, processes of ‘De-dominionisation’ (trends toward republicanism) in Australia and Canada, Malta and Trinidad and Tobago, as well as the competing desire, exhibited by Papua New Guinea, and the Queen’s often antagonistic relationship with the Conservative government’s Commonwealth policies in the 1980s. Chapter 11 takes the story up to date, exploring the Queen and Commonwealth in the 1990s when the royal family was at a low ebb in the UK, and finishing in 2013, when the Queen’s British and Commonwealth role seems more secure than ever, but the Commonwealth’s own future is increasingly being called into question. Murphy finishes by reflecting on this current concern: ‘The monarchy has undoubtedly played an important role in shaping the modern Commonwealth but so too have the wit, courage and imagination of its leaders. Perhaps it is time for the Commonwealth to rediscover these characteristics’ (p. 195, italics added).
Of course, no book can include everything, and I want to end with a few points for further discussion about roads not taken. The first is to ask what is left out when a book focuses on the history of the British political classes as this account does. Taking such a narrow slice allows for a detailed engagement with this group, but in Murphy’s book we hear very little of popular engagements with the Commonwealth in Britain, and the connections between these popular engagements and the political decisions made by Murphy’s actors. Although there are short sections about the Commonwealth Games, Commonwealth Day, and the Christmas Day message, we hear nothing of other popular Commonwealth endeavours (such as the 1960s and 1970s Comex expeditions, with which Prince Philip was closely engaged).(3) Moreover, there is scant mention of domestic Commonwealth politics in the UK: how were the interrelationships between the Queen and the Commonwealth impacted upon by violent arguments of immigration and race in Britain? If, as Murphy suggests, the Queen was a fairly liberal voice on religious tolerance and an advocate of multiculturalism, how was this taken up or contested by others involved in this debate? As the Christmas Day message was beamed into living rooms across the country, how were the Queen’s messages of Commonwealth value both within and beyond the nation received? How much were external Commonwealth policies mediated through Britain’s domestic concerns?
As Jordanna Bailkin has recently noted, the historiographies of post-war Britain and decolonisation have all too often been treated separately – accounts of post-war Britain touching upon the Commonwealth and decolonisation only with reference to immigration, and those of decolonisation tending to view it as a process taking place in arenas quite separate from domestic concerns.(4) Murphy’s focus on the Queen and the royal family grounds debates about decolonisation squarely within the realm of British culture. But perhaps Murphy could have considered further these domestic politics (beyond Whitehall) in his account – reflecting a growing view in in the historiography that decolonization should be seen as something that took place within, and impacted upon, Britain, as well as the countries that were becoming independent.
Second, I wonder how Murphy’s account might have differed if it had drawn upon a wider variety of sources alongside official and personal papers. The book’s front cover image (a photograph of the royal visit to Ghana in 1961, with billboard portraits of the Queen and Kwame Nkrumah in the background), as well as the 20 other images in book point to the richness of the visual evidence available for this period. But the images seem a little disconnected from the account (indeed, Murphy himself freely admits to having come only recently to the value and interest of the visual). I think this shows. There is so much more that could be said and asked about images. One delightful image (figure 2) shows the Queen smiling broadly whilst dancing with Nkrumah in 1961. It would be fascinating to know more about this occasion, and about the ramifications of this image if and when it was published. How was it received by different audiences within Britain and the Commonwealth? Were attempts made to manage these images by the British government and Whitehall? The role of popular culture in representing, supporting, and also challenging elite narratives of empire and the process of decolonisation have been clearly demonstrated in a number of recent conferences and publications.(5) How might such approaches and sources supplement the fascinating account provided in this book?
A third question I have is about the focus on Britain. This concentration provides a really detailed exploration of the engagement with the Commonwealth on the part of one country. However, this great strength is of course also its greatest weakness, not least because of sensitivities (neatly expressed in Murphy’s text) about the lingering tendency to see the Commonwealth as a British entity. What would happen, I wonder, if we were to take in the view of Queen and Commonwealth from elsewhere in the Commonwealth? Monarchy and the End of Empire provides glimpses of this, but always from the perspective of its implications for Britain, or for the palace. For example, the decision by Jamaica to push forward a republican agenda is understood through continued possible embarrassment for Britain about colonialism, rather than through a detailed accounting for the ways in which royalty, empire, and Commonwealth could be understood from the perspective of this Caribbean state. Murphy’s account would be usefully placed alongside others (yet to be written) which take in the scene from elsewhere in the Commonwealth.
Perhaps rather than acting as criticisms of Monarchy and the End of Empire – which is undoubtedly a scholarly and important account – these final points highlight the continuing value of studying Commonwealth history, despite the decline of this label in UK universities. Whatever we call it, there is much more to say about decolonisation and the post-colonial Commonwealth, from a broad range of geographical, disciplinary, and methodological perspectives.
Royal House of Windsor Birthday List
House of Windsor. A searchable list of past and present members of the Royal House of Windsor and their birthdays.
|MONTH||DAY||ROYAL MEMBER||YEAR OF BIRTH|
|January||9||Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge||1982|
|January||15||Marie-Christine, Princess Michael of Kent||1945|
|January||20||Sophie, Countess of Wessex||1965|
|February||19||Prince Andrew, Duke of York||1960|
|February||22||Katharine, Duchess of Kent||1933|
|March||1||Sir Timothy Laurence ||1955|
|March||1||Serena Armstrong-Jones, Countess of Snowdon||1970|
|March||7||Antony Armstrong-Jones, 1st Earl of Snowdon||1930|
|March||10||Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex||1964|
|March||23||Princess Eugenie of York||1990|
|March||31||Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester||1900|
|April||21||Queen Elizabeth II||1926|
|April||25||Princess Mary, Princess Royal, Countess of Harewood||1897|
|May||1||Lady Sarah Chatto||1964|
|May||2||Princess Charlotte of Cambridge||2015|
|May||26||Mary of Teck||1867|
|June||3||King George V||1865|
|June||10||Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh||1921|
|June||20||Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester||1946|
|June||21||Prince William, Duke of Cambridge||1982|
|July||1||Diana, Princess of Wales||1961|
|July||4||Prince Michael of Kent||1942|
|July||12||Prince John of the United Kingdom||1905|
|July||17||Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall||1947|
|July||22||Prince George of Cambridge||2013|
|August||4||Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother||1900|
|August||8||Princess Beatrice of York||1988|
|August||15||The Princess Anne, Princess Royal||1950|
|August||21||Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon||1930|
|August||26||Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester||1944|
|September||14||Sir Angus Ogilvy||1928|
|September||15||Prince Henry ("Harry") of Wales||1984|
|September||22||Captain Mark Phillips||1948|
|October||9||Prince Edward, Duke of Kent||1935|
|October||15||Sarah, Duchess of York||1959|
|November||3||David Armstrong-Jones, 2nd Earl of Snowdon||1961|
|November||8||Lady Louise Windsor||2003|
|November||14||Prince Charles, Prince of Wales||1948|
|December||13||Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent||1906|
|December||14||King George VI||1895|
|December||17||James Viscount Severn||2007|
|December||18||Prince William of Gloucester||1941|
|December||20||Prince George, Duke of Kent||1902|
|December||25||Princess Alice Montegu, Duchess of Gloucester||1901|
|December||25||Princess Alexandra of Kent||1936|
The Royal House of Windsor Family Tree below includes all the major royals from George VI and now includes the children of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George and Princess Charlotte.
Please look at the Royal House of Windsor Family Tree below. The tree now includes an updated picture of Prince George and a correction to Lord Snowdon’s year of birth and of course his death earlier this year
The House of Windsor British Royal Family Tree
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Royal Rebranding: The Birth of the House of Windsor
By the summer of 1917, the British Royal family was in quite the pickle. Although King George V was the reigning monarch of Great Britain, his ancestry was almost entirely German. This had never proved to be a problem before, but during World War I, anti-German sentiment among the British people verged on hysteria.
German-owned stores were destroyed, and the famously canine-crazy Brits even killed German breeds of dogs. Being a German of any species was a dangerous business in England.
To make matters even trickier, the King’s ties to Germany were still strong, not just an insignificant footnote from his family’s past. In fact, several of his sisters were married to German princes. Even more problematic was that the much-despised Kaiser (Willy to his family) was his first cousin.
In 1914, King George failed to strip the Kaiser of all his British honors of chivalry or honorary commands of British regiments. He would never make that mistake again. In the interest of self-preservation, it was the last time the King would bend to extended family loyalty.
After three years of war, revolutionary feeling was high in Europe, and monarchies were deposed with frightening rapidity. In Russia, the Czar and his family were taken prisoner in 1917. This particular turn of events was especially hard on King George. Both the Czar and the Czarina were also his cousins. George had to choose between offering asylum to “Nicky and Alix" and their children or saving the British Crown.
The choice was clear politically but unbearable personally. The Romanovs were executed in 1918.
The final straw was when George V heard that H.G. Wells allegedly accused the King and his court of being “alien and uninspiring.”
“I may be uninspiring, but I’m damned if I’m an alien!” The King retorted.
Obviously, changes were in order. George V called upon his advisor Lord Stamfordham. They decided their first priority was finding a suitably British name for the Royal House.
As close as they could figure, their current family name was Saxe-Coburg-Gotha – just a wee bit too German for the current climate in Great Britain. Royalty never used surnames, so they asked the College of Heralds to see what they could come up with. The only possibilities they dug up were Wipper or Wettin, which were dismissed as too goofy sounding.
The next idea was inventing an entirely new surname that sounded as British as Big Ben, the Thames River, or … Windsor Castle.
The name Windsor was perfect. There was no existing British title bearing that name, it was British as could be, and it just sounded royal. Windsor Castle was built by William the Conqueror, is the oldest occupied castle in Europe. It personifies a millennium of unbroken British Royal history.
We have ourselves a winner.
So on July 17, 1917, the British Royal family officially became known as the Royal House of Windsor.
King George’s cousin the German Kaiser seemed bemused by all of this and remarked that he planned to attend a performance of Shakespeare’s play “The Merry Wives of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.” That probably didn't get a lot of laughs at Buckingham Palace, however.
The King insisted all other members of the Royal family anglicize their names and renounce any German titles. His Majesty eased the transition by giving British titles to family members, but some gave up (German) royal status to become mere nobility.
Too bad, so sad, sayeth the King.
Many people don’t realize that the House of Windsor, styled as such anyway, is just over a century old. It was widely assumed they were always the Windsors. Undoubtedly this would please King George V immensely, who would feel vindicated for picking such a British – and timeless – name for his Royal House.
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.
Descendants of Elizabeth II [ edit ]
In 1947, Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II), heir presumptive to King George VI, married Philip Mountbatten (born Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark), a member of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, a branch of the House of Oldenburg. A few months before his marriage, Philip abandoned his princely titles and adopted the surname Mountbatten, which was that of his uncle and mentor, the 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, Lord Mountbatten observed that because it was the standard practice for the wife in a marriage to adopt her husband's surname, the royal house had become the House of Mountbatten. When Elizabeth's grandmother, Queen Mary, heard of this comment, 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, other than female descendants who marry and their descendants, shall bear the name of Windsor." Ε] 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." Ζ]
On 8 February 1960, some years after both 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. Ε] Still, Elizabeth also decreed that her agnatic descendants who do not have that style and title would bear the surname Mountbatten-Windsor. Ε]
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 [ citation needed ] 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. Η] 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. ⎖]
Family tree [ edit ]
The British Royal Family Tree
A comprehensive who's who of Queen Elizabeth's family, from her grandparents (the first Windsors) to little Archie Harrison and every cousin in between.
The House of Windsor as we know it today began in 1917 when the family changed its name from the German &ldquoSaxe-Coburg-Gotha.&rdquo Queen Elizabeth's grandfather, King George V, was the first Windsor monarch, and today's working royals are the descendants of King George and his wife, Queen Mary. Below follow the line of succession and explore the many branches of the family over which the Queen presides.
King George V, 1865-1936
The grandson of Queen Victoria&mdashand grandfather to Queen Elizabeth&mdashGeorge V was born third in the line of succession and did not expect to become king. That changed after his elder brother Prince Albert Victor died in 1892. George ascended the throne after the death of his father in 1910, serving as King of the United Kingdom and Emperor of India until his death in 1936.
Queen Mary, 1867-1953
Queen Elizabeth&rsquos grandmother Queen Mary was royal by birth (her great-grandfather was King George III). Despite technically being a princess of the German Duchy of Teck, she was born and raised in England. She was first engaged to marry Prince Albert Victor, the eldest son of Edward VII and her second cousin once removed, but after Albert&rsquos sudden death in 1892, Mary agreed to marry his brother, the future King George V. The couple married in 1893, and had six children, two of whom would become reigning monarchs. She died in 1953, one year after her son, Queen Elizabeth's father King George VI.
King Edward VIII, 1894-1972
The eldest son of George V and Queen Mary, Edward became king after his father&rsquos death in 1936, but threw the country into crisis months later when he proposed to Wallis Simpson, an American divorcée. As monarch, Edward was head of the Church of England, which at the time did not allow divorced people with a living former spouse to remarry in the church, and thus the government opposed the marriage. Unable to marry Simpson and remain on the throne, Edward abdicated in December of 1936, and was succeeded by his younger brother Albert, Queen Elizabeth&rsquos father, who would go on to become King George VI. Edward&rsquos reign lasted just 326 days, one of the shortest in British history. After his abdication, he was named Duke of Windsor and married Simpson in 1937. They lived abroad until his death in 1972.
Princess Mary, 1897-1965
The only daughter of George V and Queen Mary, and Queen Elizabeth&rsquos aunt. During World War I, Mary devoted herself to charity work, visiting hospitals and launching fundraising campaigns to support British soldiers and sailors. She later trained as a nurse, and worked two days a week at the Great Ormond Street children&rsquos hospital in London. In 1922, Mary married Viscount Lascelles, who later became Earl of Harewood theirs was the first royal wedding to receive coverage in fashion magazines like Vogue. Those fans of the Downton Abbey movie will recognize Mary from her part in the plot.
Prince John, 1905-1919
The youngest child of George V and Queen Mary, John was diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of four, and was sent to live at Sandringham House where he was cared for by his governess. He died in 1919 at the age of 13, following a severe seizure. His condition was not disclosed to the public until after his death.
Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, 1900-1974
King George V and Queen Mary&rsquos third son, Henry was the first child of a British monarch to be educated at school, rather than be tutored at home, and ultimately attended Eton College. He served in the British military and had ambitions to command a regiment, but his career was interrupted by royal responsibilities following the 1936 abdication of his brother Edward VIII. He married Lady Alice Montagu Douglas Scott in 1935, and the couple had two sons, Prince William and Prince Richard. Henry died in 1974 as the eldest surviving child of George V and Mary.
Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester, 1901-2004
The wife of Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, and Queen Elizabeth&rsquos aunt by marriage, Lady Alice was a direct descendant of Charles II through his illegitimate son, the nobleman James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth. She married Prince Henry in 1935, days after the death of her father, the 7th Duke of Buccleuch. The couple had two sons, Prince William and Prince Richard. Alice died at the age of 102 in 2004.
Prince George, Duke of Kent, 1902-1942
The fourth son of George V and Queen Mary, and Queen Elizabeth&rsquos uncle. Like his elder brother Henry, George was educated at school, and spent time in the Navy before becoming the first member of the royal family to work as a civil servant. In 1934, he married Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark, and the couple had three children: Prince Edward, Princess Alexandra, and Prince Michael. At the start of World War II, he returned to active military service in the Royal Navy and later the Royal Air Force. His death in 1942 in a military air crash marked the first time in more than 450 years that a member of the royal family died during active service.
Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent, 1906-1968
The wife of Prince George, and a princess of the Greek royal house, Princess Marina was the daughter of Prince Nicholas of Greece and Denmark, and Grand Duchess Elena Vladimirovna of Russia. (Prince Philip is her first cousin.) In 1932, she met Prince George during a visit to London, and the couple married two years later theirs was the first royal wedding to be broadcast by wireless radio. The couple had three children: Prince Edward, Princess Alexandra, and Prince Michael. Following her husband&rsquos death in 1942, Marina remained an active member of the royal family and carried out many royal duties across the world, even representing the Queen at some events. She died in 1968 at the age of 61.
King George VI, 1895 - 1952
Known publicly as Prince Albert until his accession, King George VI did not expect to inherit the throne because his elder brother Edward VIII was first in the line of succession.
As the second son of George V and Queen Mary, he was made Duke of York in 1920, after serving in the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force during World War I. In 1923, he married Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, and the couple had two daughters: the future Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret. Following Edward&rsquos abdication in 1936, Albert took the throne and assumed the name King George VI. The dissolution of the British Empire and formation of the British Commonwealth were finalized during George&rsquos reign, so he was both the last Emperor of India and the first Head of the Commonwealth. George died in 1952 at the age of 56, and was succeeded by his daughter.
Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, 1900 - 2002
Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon was born into British nobility, the 9th of 10 siblings. In 1923, she married Prince Albert, the Duke of York, having turned down several previous proposals because she had misgivings about royal life. When her brother-in-law abdicated in 1936, Albert became King George VI and Elizabeth became the Queen consort of the United Kingdom. Upon her husband&rsquos death in 1952, her elder daughter Elizabeth ascended to the throne, and she became known as the Queen Mother. She remained active in public life up to and even after her 100th birthday in 2000 and died at 101, seven weeks after the death of her younger daughter, Princess Margaret.
Prince William of Gloucester, 1941-1972
As the eldest son of Prince Henry and Lady Alice, Prince William was highly educated, studying at Eton College, Cambridge University, and Stanford University. While he later held jobs in banking and in the British civil service, Queen Elizabeth&rsquos first-cousin was also a licensed pilot, and regularly competed in air show races. It was that passion eventually lead to his untimely death. In 1972, at the age of 30, Prince William died in an airplane crash.
Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester, 1944-
The younger son of Prince Henry and Lady Alice, Prince Richard initially had a career as an architect, but following the death of his older brother Prince William in 1972, he took on additional royal duties.
That same year, he married Birgitte van Deurs (1946-) whom he met at Cambridge University, and just two years after that, Richard inherited the title of Duke of Gloucester from his father Prince Henry. Now in his 70s, Richard remains active in public life and carries out regular royal duties for his first cousin, the Queen. He and his wife have three children together&ndashAlexander Windsor (1974-), Lady Davina Lewis (1977-) and Lady Rose Gilman (1980-)&ndashand six grandchildren (Xan Windsor, Lady Cosima Windsor, Senna Lewis, Tāne Lewis, Lyla Gilman and Rufus Gilman). The couple resides in Kensington Palace.
Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, 1935-
The eldest child of Prince George, the Duke of Kent and Princess Marina, Prince Edward is directly related to both Prince Philip and the Queen. As a grandchild of George V and Queen Mary, he is the Queen&rsquos first cousin, and since his mother was a first cousin to Prince Philip, Edward is also Philip&rsquos first cousin once removed. Edward inherited the dukedom of Kent following his father&rsquos death in a 1942 military air crash. Nearly two decades later, he married Katharine Worsley, and the couple have three children together&ndashGeorge Windsor, Earl of St Andrews (1962-), Lady Helen Taylor (1964-), Lord Nicholas Windsor (1970-)&ndashand ten grandchildren (Lord Edward Windsor, Lady Marina Charlotte Windsor, Lady Amelia Windsor, Columbus Taylor, Cassius Taylor, Eloise Taylor, Estella Taylor, Albert Windsor, Leopold Windsor and Louis Windsor). Now in his 80s, Prince Edward regularly carries out royal duties on behalf of the Queen. He and his wife live on the grounds of Kensington Palace in the royal residence Wren House.
Princess Alexandra, The Honourable Lady Ogilvy, 1936-
Like her two brothers, Princess Alexandra is directly related to both Prince Philip and the Queen. As the eldest daughter of Prince George, the Duke of Kent and Princess Marina, she is both Queen Elizabeth&rsquos first cousin and Prince Philip&rsquos first cousin once removed. Princess Alexandra married the businessman Sir Angus Ogilvy in 1963, and the couple have two children&ndashJames Ogilvy (1964-) and Marina Ogilvy (1966-)&ndashand four grandchildren (Alexander Charles Ogilvy, Flora Alexandra Ogilvy, Zenouska Mowatt and Christian Mowatt). Alexandra is reportedly quite close with the royal couple, and while Sir Angus Ogilvy passed away in 2004, she continues to be an active working royal and resides in St James&rsquos Palace in London.
Prince Michael of Kent, 1942-
Like his brother Prince Edward and his sister Princess Alexandra, Prince Michael of Kent is directly related to both Prince Philip and the Queen.
As the youngest child of Prince George, the Duke of Kent and Princess Marina, he is both Queen Elizabeth&rsquos first cousin and Prince Philip&rsquos first cousin once removed. In 1978, he married Baroness Marie Christine von Reibnitz in a civil ceremony in Austria, and the couple have two children together: Lord Frederick Windsor (1979-) and Lady Gabriella Windsor (1981-). Michael takes on fewer royal responsibilities than his siblings, but he does sometimes represent the Queen at events in Commonwealth countries outside of the United Kingdom. In recognition of this work, the Queen provided Prince Michael and his wife with an apartment at Kensington Palace for a number of years, but after that proved controversial, they now pay rent.
Queen Elizabeth II, 1926-
Elizabeth II is the current Queen of the United Kingdom and Head of the Commonwealth. Born third in the line of succession, Elizabeth became the presumptive heir to the throne in 1936, following the abdication of her uncle Edward VIII and the ascension of her father, George VI. In 1947, she became engaged to Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, whom she had first met at the age of 13. The couple were married the same year at Westminster Abbey, and have four children together. After her father died in 1952, Elizabeth ascended to the throne. Currently in her 90s, she is both the longest-reigning and the longest-living British monarch in history, having reigned for more than 65 years. Her great-grandmother Queen Victoria, the second longest-reigning monarch, reigned for 63 years.
Princess Margaret, 1930 - 2002
Queen Elizabeth&rsquos younger sister Margaret was 22 when her sister took the throne, and shortly afterwards became engaged to air force officer Peter Townsend. Because Townsend was divorced, the Church of England would not approve the marriage, and Margaret was famously forced to choose between ending the relationship and losing her royal privileges. She broke off her engagement with Townsend, and in 1960 married society photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones, who was given the title Earl of Snowdon. The couple had two children together, and ultimately divorced in 1978 after a tempestuous 20-year marriage. Margaret died in 2002, at the age of 71.
Antony Armstrong-Jones, Lord Snowdon, 1930-2017
Antony Armstrong-Jones, a.k.a. Lord Snowdon, was the husband of Princess Margaret, and brother-in-law to Queen Elizabeth. Armstrong-Jones was a fashion and society photographer when he met Margaret in 1958, and they married two years later in 1960. The couple had two children together &ndash David Armstrong-Jones (1961-) and Lady Sarah Chatto (1964-) &ndash and four grandchildren (Charles Armstrong-Jones, Viscount Linley, Lady Margarita Armstrong-Jones, Samuel Chatto and Arthur Chatto), but divorced in 1978. Armstrong-Jones married his second wife Lucy Mary Lindsay-Hogg that same year, and they remained married until 2000. Armstrong-Jones died in 2017 at the age of 86.
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, 1921-2021
Prince Philip was best known as Queen Elizabeth&rsquos husband and consort, but he is also royal in his own right. He was born Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, but Philip and his family were exiled from Greece during his childhood, and so he studied in France, Germany, and the United Kingdom before eventually serving in the British Royal Navy. He married then-Princess Elizabeth in 1947, during the reign of her father George VI, and the couple have four children together. When he passed away in 2021 at the age of 99, Prince Philip was not only the the longest-serving consort of a reigning British Monarch, but also the longest-living male British royal in history.
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, 1948-
The eldest child of Queen Elizabeth, and the heir apparent to the British throne, Prince Charles was born in 1948 in Buckingham Palace. He went on to be educated at a number of institutions including Cheam and Gordonstoun Schools (which his father attended before him) and Cambridge University, before serving in the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy.
In 1981, Charles married Diana Spencer, and the couple had two sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, before divorcing in 1996. Charles later married his second wife Camilla Parker Bowles in 2005. Having held the title since 1958, Charles is the longest-serving Prince of Wales in history. He is also the first heir to the British throne ever to have a university degree.
Diana, Princess of Wales, 1961-
Diana Spencer was born on July 1, 1961 into British nobility, as the third John Spencer, Viscount Althorp and Frances Roche's four children. She met Prince Charles when she was 16, and married him in July of 1981, becoming the Princess of Wales. Charles and Diana had two children together, Prince William and Prince Harry before divorcing in 1996. One year later, she tragically died in a car accident in Paris on August 31, 1997.
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, 1947-
The second wife of Prince Charles, Camilla Rosemary Shand is the eldest daughter of military officer and businessman Major Bruce Shand and his wife Rosalind Shand. She is also the granddaughter of nobleman Roland Cubitt, 3rd Baron Ashcombe. In 1973, Camilla married her first husband Andrew Parker Bowles, and the couple had two children, Tom and Lisa, before divorcing in 1995. In 2005, Camilla married Prince Charles in a civil ceremony, and she became the Duchess of Cornwall.
Princess Anne, Princess Royal, 1950-
The second child and only daughter of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, Princess Anne is one of the hardest working members of the royal family. She is also an accomplished equestrian, and was even the first British royal to compete in the Olympic Games. In 1973, Anne married Captain Mark Phillips, and the couple had two children together before divorcing in 1992. Later that year, Anne married Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, her mother&rsquos former equerry. She currently resides in St James&rsquos Palace.
Captain Mark Phillips, 1948-
Princess Anne met her first husband, Captain Mark Phillips, at the 1972 Olympics in Munich, where he was part of the British equestrian team and also competed individually. The couple married in 1973, and had two children together before divorcing in 1992.
Sir Timothy Laurence, 1955-
The second husband of Anne, Princess Royal. A retired Royal Navy officer, Timothy met Anne in 1986 while he was serving as equerry to Queen Elizabeth. After her divorce from Captain Mark Phillips in 1992, Anne and Timothy married, and although he received no title upon the marriage, in 2008 he was appointed as a personal aide-de-camp to the Queen.
Peter Phillips, 1977-
Peter Phillips is the only son of Princess Anne and her first husband Captain Mark Phillips, and the eldest grandchild of Queen Elizabeth. Peter&rsquos parents reportedly turned down the Queen&rsquos offer of a royal title for their son, hoping instead to enable him to lead a more normal life. In 2008 he married Autumn Kelly, and the couple have two children together: Savannah Phillips (2010-) and Isla Phillips (2012-). He and Autumn have since separated.
Zara Tindall, 1981-
Zara Tindall is the younger child of Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips and the eldest granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth. That said, she does not hold a royal title. Her parents reportedly turned down the Queen&rsquos offer for one in hopes that Zara might lead a more normal life. Like her mother, Zara is an accomplished equestrian and Olympian, winning a silver medal at the 2012 Olympics in London, and she has been appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire for her services to equestrianism. Zara married Mike Tindall, a former rugby player, in 2011, and the couple have three children together: Mia Tindall (2014-), Lena Tindall (2018-), and Lucas Tindall (2021-).
Prince Andrew, Duke of York, 1960-
The third child and second son of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, Prince Andrew served in the Royal Navy for many years, including during the Falklands War in 1982, and holds the ranks of commander and vice admiral. He married Sarah Ferguson in 1986, and the couple had two daughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, before divorcing in 1996. In 2019, he stepped back from his working royal duties following enormous public criticism over his association with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
Sarah, Duchess of York, 1959-
The former wife of Prince Andrew, Sarah Ferguson is widely known by the nickname &ldquoFergie.&rdquo Sarah had known Andrew since childhood, and became engaged to him in 1986. The couple married at Westminster Abbey later that year, and went on to have two daughters. Sarah and Andrew announced their separation in 1992, and were divorced four years later in 1996, though by all accounts they still have an amicable relationship.
Princess Beatrice of York, 1988-
Princess Beatrice is the oldest daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, and holds a place in the British line of succession even though she is not a working royal. The princess has a career outside the Palace, and currently works for a New York-based artificial intelligence company, but she also often attends major family events like Trooping the Colour and the annual Christmas church services. In July of 2020, she married her boyfriend Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi in a private wedding ceremony in Windsor, and became stepmother to his son, Wolfie.
Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, 1983-
In July of 2020, Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi married Princess Beatrice in a small private wedding ceremony in Windsor. He has a young son, Wolfie, from a previous relationship&mdashmaking Beatrice an instant stepmother.
Princess Eugenie, 1990-
The younger daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah, Duchess of York, and Queen Elizabeth&rsquos granddaughter. Eugenie attended St George&rsquos School with her elder sister Beatrice, and later graduated from Newcastle University. In October of 2018, Eugenie married her partner of seven years, Jack Brooksbank, in a ceremony at Windsor Castle.
Jack Brooksbank, 1986-
Jack Brooksbank first met Princess Eugenie in Verbier, Switzerland, while on a ski vacation. The pair dated for approximately seven years before marrying in October of 2018 in front of friends and family in St George&rsquos Chapel at Windsor Castle.
Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, 1964-
The youngest child and third son of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, Edward attended Cambridge University and later joined the Royal Marines, but dropped out after four months. In 1999 he married Sophie Rhys-Jones, and the couple have two children. Prince Edward is a full-time working royal and has recently taken over several responsibilities from his father, following Prince Philip&rsquos retirement from royal duties.
Sophie, Countess of Wessex, 1965-
Sophie Helen Rhys-Jones met Prince Edward while she was working in radio, and the couple dated for six years before marrying in 1999. They have two children together, Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn. While she previously had a career in public relations, Sophie is now a full-time working royal like her husband, and frequently supports the Queen, her mother-in-law, in her royal duties.
Lady Louise Windsor, 2003-
The elder child and only daughter of Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, Lady Louise is the youngest granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth. She and her brother James embarked on their first royal engagement in 2015, accompanying their parents to South Africa. You might also recognize her as one of the bridesmaids from Will and Kate&rsquos royal wedding in 2011.
James, Viscount Severn, 2007-
The younger child and only son of Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, James is the youngest grandchild of Queen Elizabeth. Both he and his older sister Louise embarked on their first royal engagement in 2015, accompanying their parents to South Africa.
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, 1982-
The elder son of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, William is currently second in the British line of succession. After attending Eton College and St Andrew&rsquos University, he trained at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and served in the Royal Air Force, eventually becoming a search-and-rescue pilot. He has since left the military and is now a full-time working royal. In 2011, he married his longtime girlfriend, Catherine Middleton, whom he met at St Andrew&rsquos, and the couple now have three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis.
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, 1982-
After growing up in Chapel Row near Newbury as the oldest daughter of Carole and Michael Middleton, Kate met Prince William at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. After a long courtship, the couple married at Westminster Abbey in 2011 in a ceremony which was attended by celebrities, dignitaries, and royals from across Europe. She and William have three children together, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis, and Kate now works as a full-time royal focusing on organizations which support young people and mothers, and that help to fight the stigma of mental health issues.
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, 1984-
The younger son of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, Harry is currently sixth in the line of succession. After attending Eton College like his elder brother William, Harry trained at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, and served in the British Army where he was twice deployed to Afghanistan, making Harry the first royal to serve in a war zone since his uncle Prince Andrew. In May of 2018, Harry married American actress Meghan Markle in a widely-watched royal wedding. A year and a half later, he and Meghan announced their decision to step back from their roles as working roles, and have since carved out space for themselves in the private sector, inking a deal with Netflix and signing with a speaking agency. In May of 2019, they welcomed their first child, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor the family of three currently lives in Santa Barbara, California. The couple are expecting their second child, a girl, this summer.
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, 1981-
The Duchess of Sussex broke the mold of the expected royal bride, as a biracial, California-born actress. Markle, who divorced her first husband in 2013, was reportedly set up on a blind date with Harry in 2016, and the rest is history. They married in May 2018 at Windsor Castle, and Meghan spent a year and a half as a working royal before she and Harry decided to step back from their roles. She now lives in Santa Barbara, California with Harry and their son, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, who was born in May 2019.
Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, 2019-
The first child of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor was born on May 6, 2019. He is currently seventh in the line of succession.
Prince George of Cambridge, 2013-
The first child and elder son of Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, George was born on July 22, 2013 and is currently third in the line of succession.
Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, 2015-
The second child, and only daughter, of Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Charlotte was born on May 2, 2015. She is currently fourth in the line of succession.
Prince Louis of Cambridge, 2018-
The third child, and second son, of Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Louis was born on April 23, 2018. He is currently fifth in the line of succession.
How Did the Royal Family Start?
The current Royal Family, the House of Windsor, originated in 1917 when King George V proclaimed the last name of the family to be Windsor. However, the roots of the English monarchy trace back to the eighth and ninth centuries.
Centralized systems of government came into existence in England sometime between 700 and 900 A.D. Offa and Alfred the Great had begun to organize tribes under a single ruler, and Anglo-Saxon and Scottish kingdoms had monarchs by the time of the Norman invasion of 1066. William the Conqueror then became the English king, and his descendants ruled in the centuries that followed.
After the death of Queen Victoria, the Virgin Queen, in 1603, the kingdoms of England and Scotland were united. In 1801, Ireland was also included in the union to form the United Kingdom.
In 1917, King George V issued a royal proclamation that established the House of Windsor, giving family members an official last name. Previously, Royal Family members were only known by the kingdom or dynasty of their origin. The current Royal Family members all hail from the House of Windsor. They include Queen Elizabeth II, and in order of succession, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge and Prince George of Cambridge.
List of members of the House of Windsor (The Lost Prince)
The House of Windsor, the royal house of the Commonwealth realms, includes the male-line descendants of Queen Victoria who are subjects of the Crown (1917 Order-in-Council). According to these two Orders-in-Council, male-line female descendants lose the name Windsor upon marriage.
The line of Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught, the third son of Queen Victoria, died out in 1974, with the death of Princess Patricia of Connaught, later Lady Patricia Ramsay.
The line of Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany, the youngest son of Queen Victoria, were not considered members of the House of Windsor, as they had fought on the German side during World War I as Dukes of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (except for the Duke's daughter, Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone, who was considered a member of the House of Windsor as she remained in the United Kingdom).
Three of the current members of the house of Windsor are Roman Catholic (labelled "CA" in the table), and are thus excluded from the line of succession to the British throne. The remaining 49 (excluding the King) are in the line of succession, though not consecutively. Two of those 49 were previously excluded from the line of succession due to having married Catholics, but they were restored in 2015 when the Succession to the Crown Act 2013 came into effect.