A new Monarch, a new House – The House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg?

king charles
Public domain via The White House

When Queen Victoria died in 1901 after a reign of 63 years, she was the last British monarch of the House of Hanover. The House of Hanover had come to power in Great Britain following the death of Anne, Queen of Great Britain, the last British monarch of the House of Stuart. However, as all her children had predeceased her, and fears of a Catholic succession were still real, the Act of Settlement 1701 had settled the succession of her closest protestant relative – Sophia of Hanover.

Tragically, Sophia predeceased Queen Anne by just a few weeks, and thus, upon Anne’s death, she was succeeded by Sophia’s eldest son, who became King George I as the first British monarch of the House of Hanover. After him followed: King George II, King George III, King George IV, King William IV and lastly, Queen Victoria. As children usually belong to the house of their father, Queen Victoria’s son King Edward VII was the first British monarch of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

King Edward VII was succeeded by his son King George V. It was King George V who changed history in 1917 when he, among anti-German sentiments, changed the name of his House to that of Windsor. He issued the following proclamation:

“WHEREAS We, having taken into consideration the Name and Title of Our Royal House and Family, have determined that henceforth Our House and Family shall be styled and known as the House and Family of Windsor…”1 Thus, Saxe-Coburg and Gotha became Windsor. King George V was succeeded by King Edward VIII, who was succeeded by King George VI. King George VI was succeeded by his daughter Queen Elizabeth II, who died recently on 8 September 2022.

She was succeeded by her son, who became King Charles III. King Charles III would have been the first British monarch of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg. His father, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, was the grandson of King George I of Greece and part of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg. Before Prince Philip’s engagement to then Princess Elizabeth was announced in 1947, he relinquished his Greek and Danish royal titles and became a naturalised British subject. He took on the surname Mountbatten from the maternal side of his family. (He was only created a British Prince in 1957.2)

Shortly after King George VI died, there was apparently some dispute over the royal family name. A dinner party had been held, during which Louis Mountbatten, an uncle of Prince Philip, had reportedly toasted to the fact that the House of Mountbatten now reigned. (Never mind the fact that even if the royal house did change names, Queen Elizabeth II would still have been of the House of Windsor!) One of the guests reported the toast to Queen Mary, who was adamant that the House of Windsor had been created in perpetuity. The Prime Minister and the cabinet agreed that “the family name of Windsor should be retained.” Philip was reportedly more in favour of the name “Windsor and Edinburgh”, but this came to nothing.3

The following April, Queen Elizabeth II declared “in- Council Her Will and Pleasure that She and Her children shall be styled and known as the House and Family of Windsor, and that Her descendants, other than female descendants who marry, and their descendants, shall bear the name of Windsor.”4

In 1960, the surname Mountbatten-Windsor was adopted with the words “Now therefore I declare My Will and Pleasure that, while I and My children shall continue to be styled and known as the House and Family of Windsor, My descendants other than descendants enjoying the style, title or attribute of Royal Highness and the titular dignity of Prince or Princess and female descendants who marry and their descendants shall bear the name of Mountbatten-Windsor.”5

Thus, while precedent was on Prince Philip’s side, King Charles III is part of the House of Windsor.

  1. The London Gazette
  2. The London Gazette
  3. Young Prince Philip: his turbulent early life by Philip Eade p.347-348
  4. The London Gazette
  5. The London Gazette

About Moniek Bloks 2741 Articles
My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women's amazing stories.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.