The Royal Family's Last Name

Updated on November 14, 2018
revmjm profile image

Margaret Minnicks is an online writer who writes about the royal family.

Names are what identify us and distinguish us from others. Most people take on the last name of their father. That is not the case with the royal family. Like almost everything else concerning them, there are rules to follow in order for them to determine what their last name should be if they choose to have one. If they have a last name, often they do not use it.

Royal Last Names

When Meghan Markle married Prince Harry at St. George’s Chapel on May 19, 2018, her last name could have become Mountbatten-Windsor. If you read something about Meghan Mountbatten-Windsor, you probably wouldn't know who that is.

The royal family is so well known that they are often referred to by their first name and title. When Meghan Markle married Prince Harry, both of them took on the title Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

When Prince William and Kate Middleton got married in 2011, they became the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Reasons Royals Don't Use Last Names

The royals are so well known that they don’t need a last name to be recognized. They are known by the royal house and a surname which are not always the same. Many times they do not have to use a surname.

This means that Prince Harry’s full name could technically be Henry Charles Albert David Mountbatten-Windsor and that Markle could become Rachel Meghan Mountbatten-Windsor.

Last names are typically only used by members of the royal family without a title. Since most members of the royal family have a title, no last name is necessary.

Usually, members of the royal family will use the last name from their family official title. For instance, when Prince Harry and Prince William were in school and in the military, they needed to use a last name. They used the last name of their father's official title which is Charles, Prince of Wales. Therefore, for official records, the princes were known as Williams Wales and Harry Wales.

When Prince George started school, his surname was derived from his father's title. Therefore, his name for school purposes is George Cambridge that is taken from his father's title which is the Duke of Cambridge. So, when you think about it, Prince William's children don't have the same last name as he does. While his surname is Wales, his children's last name is Cambridge.

When Prince Harry and Meghan's children go to school, they will not have the same last name as their cousins. Prince William's children's last name is Cambridge. His brother's children last name will be Sussex. The brothers' last name is Wales after Prince Charles' title. Prince Charles last name is Mountbatten-Windsor which is a combination of Prince Philip's last name and the dynasty he is from.

If you think all that is confusing, there are other ways royals decide on last names to use.

House of Windsor

Queen Elizabeth was born into the royal house of Windsor, making Windsor her last name instead of taking on her husband last name Mountbatten.

Before 1917, the royals used no last names at all. Then the Queen's grandfather, King George V, designated Windsor as the royal family's official last name. Before then, British royals went by the last name of the house they belonged to, such as the House of Tudor or Hanover. For example, Victoria was known as Queen Victoria of the House of Hanover.

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburg's last name is Mountbatten.
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburg's last name is Mountbatten.

Philip Mountbatten

If Elizabeth had not been a royal, she would have taken on her husband's last name when she married Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten in 1947. Later, Queen Elizabeth II adjusted her grandfather’s naming decree slightly by using Mountbatten followed by a hyphen and the name of the house. Some documents show Mountbatten-Windsor as the Queen's last name.

The British royal family can use the following ways to choose their last name.

  • They can use Windsor from the House of Windsor.
  • The last name is often from father's title.
  • Mountbatten is Prince Philip's last name.
  • Mountbatten-Windsor is technically the royal family's last name. However, it is rarely the one members of the family uses.
  • Often the family doesn't need a last name.
  • Royals can use first names only.
  • Royals can be identified by their titles.

First Names Only

Some die-hard fans of Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle get upset when the women are called by their well-known birth names. People who want to find information about the royal women online will have more success by using Google to locate them by their birth names instead of using their titles.

It is not offensive or disrespect by calling the royal women by their given names. In some places, they themselves use only their first names when they have to sign guest books.

See how Harry and Meghan signed only their first names.
See how Harry and Meghan signed only their first names.

Royal historian Carolyn Harris explained that Meghan doesn't need to use a last name. She can sign just Meghan as Harry signs just Harry. On a trip in July to Ireland, Meghan signed a guestbook simply by using only her first name. See the photo above to prove this is true.

When in doubt about how to refer to a member of the royal family, first names and titles are appropriate.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • revmjm profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Minnicks 

      13 days ago from Richmond, VA

      Thanks, Jan Michael and Dianna, for reading my article and sharing your thoughts.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      13 days ago

      I never realized the last names were not used. I guess just knowing who they were by the title was taken for granted. Good article.

    • Jan Michael Ong profile image

      Jan Michael Ong 

      4 weeks ago from Metro Manila, Philippines

      The Queen is also a descendant of Vlad the Impaler. They have properties in Romania.

      Queen Elizabeth II is the daughter of George VI. His mother is Mary of Teck, her father is Francis (Duke of Teck), his mother is Claudine Rhédey, her father is László Rhédey, his father is Mihály Rhédey, his mother is Mária Thoroczkay, her mother is Borbála Kapy, her mother is Agnes-Izabella Bánffy, her mother is Judit-Anna Kendeffy, her father is Gáspár Kendeffy, his mother is Vanesca Kornis, her mother is Borbála Bilky, her father is Vlad Dracula, his father is Vlaicu Dracula, his father is Vlad Dracula IV and finally, his father is Vlad III Tepes, also known as “Dracula”.

    • revmjm profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Minnicks 

      4 weeks ago from Richmond, VA

      Jan Michael Ong, you are absolutely right about the name changed to Windsor in 1917.

    • Jan Michael Ong profile image

      Jan Michael Ong 

      4 weeks ago from Metro Manila, Philippines

      I believe that the Royals' last name is Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. It was changed to Windsor in 1917 due to anti-German sentiment. The queen has a German lineage.

    • revmjm profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Minnicks 

      4 weeks ago from Richmond, VA

      Yes, Louise, Prince George is cute, and so is Princess Charlotte. I love learning and writing about the royals.

    • Coffeequeeen profile image

      Louise Powles 

      4 weeks ago from Norfolk, England

      Oh, that was very interesting to read. I remember watching on telly when Prince George started school. He's such a cute little boy. All Kat and Williams children are lovely.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, owlcation.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://owlcation.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)