Queen Elizabeth. Liz. Her Majesty. British monarch. Lilibet.: The queen has more names than P.Diddy (or is it Sean Combs now?) but we recently realized that we didn’t know the 95-year-old’s full name. Or even just her last name, for that matter. So, we did some digging and it turns out that there’s way more that goes into her official moniker—Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor—than we thought.
Let’s start with the easy stuff. Elizabeth is the eldest daughter of Prince Albert (George VI) and Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon. Hence, her first name. Liz was given her middle name, "Alexandra," after George VI's mother, who had passed shortly before her birth, and "Mary" after her paternal grandmother, Mary of Teck.
So, where does "Windsor" come from? According to the official website of the royal family, before 1917, members of the family had no surname “but only the name of the House or dynasty to which they belonged.”
King George VI was born in 1895, as a member of the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, and he and his family used the name up until 1917, when the royal House was changed to the House of Windsor. (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Saxe-Coburg-Gotha would have had quite the ring to it, though.)
Per the website, George specifically adopted "Windsor," not only as the name of the House but also as the surname of his family, a decision that came as a result of anti-German feelings during the First World War. After her accession in 1952, Elizabeth carried on the tradition.
It’s also important to note how the surname Mountbatten-Windsor (shared by Archie Harrison and Lilibet Diana) came to be. In 1960, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip decided they wanted their direct descendants to take both of their family names "Mountbatten-Windsor," as a way to also honor Philip. Other male-line descendants of King George V have continued to use the surname Windsor.
“It was therefore declared in the Privy Council that The Queen's descendants, other than those with the style of Royal Highness and the title of Prince/Princess, or female descendants who marry, would carry the name of Mountbatten-Windsor,” the site continues. This explains why Harry, William and Prince George, Charlotte and Louis, do not share the surname (or any surname for that matter).
Confusing, right? Long story short, Queen Elizabeth’s last name is Windsor, but we’ll just call her Liz.
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