Prince William, Kate Last Name
We know Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, is expecting a baby any day now. We know that Kate and Prince William already have a son. We know that he’s named George Alexander Louis, and is called Prince George. But – George WHAT? Does he have a last name? And if so, what is it?
This is a tricky topic with British royalty. Let’s delve in …
Royal House Names
Royal family members are known by the name of their “house.” This “house” runs as long as the line of succession stays within one family. When a rival faction takes the throne, or when succession passes to a different family branch through a female, a new “house” name rules. Examples of well-known British royal houses are the Tudors (remember King Henry VIII and his six wives?) and the Stuarts (King James).
British Royal Family Surnames
Up until 1917, members of the British royal family didn’t have last names (or surnames). They were identified only by the name of their royal line or “house.” But in 1917, the reigning royal house was Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. This name was not popular given anti-German sentiment following World War I, so reigning King George V decided to change the house name to Windsor. He also decided that the royals would use Windsor as their surname. This had no connection to Windsor Castle, one of the family’s homes.
Queen Elizabeth Makes a Change
In 1960, current Queen Elizabeth and her husband, Prince Philip, decided they wanted to differentiate their branch of the family from the other British royals. They changed their surname to Mountbatten-Windsor. This was a way to honor Prince Philip’s heritage, as Mountbatten had been his surname prior to marrying Elizabeth.
So, the Prince George’s full name is George Alexander Louis Mountbatten-Windsor. Let’s hope he’s a bright child, because that’s a lot of name to write!
What About Cambridge?
I can hear the wheels in your mind turning. “But aren’t William and Kate the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge? Why won’t their children’s surnames be Cambridge?”
Good question. Cambridge, however, is not the couple’s – nor their children’s – last name. The Cambridge designation is a royal title, given to William and Kate as an honor on their wedding day. The new baby will be HRH (His/Her Royal Highness) ‘Alexandra’ of Cambridge. Did the Queen make up the Cambridge title? No; it’s been used as a royal title since the 1660s, although it became extinct in 1904.
The last name for William, Kate, George, and the baby continues to be Mountbatten-Windsor – although you’ll rarely see or hear it used.
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