Royal family

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article is about the monarchy-related concept. For other uses, see Royal Family (disambiguation).


Members of the Commonwealth realms‘ Royal Family.

A royal family is the extended family of a king or queen regnant. The term imperial familyappropriately describes the extended family of an emperor or empress, while the terms "ducal family", "grand ducal family" or "princely family" are more appropriate to describe the relatives of a reigningduke, grand duke, or prince, however in common parlance members of any family which reigns by hereditary right are often referred to as royalty or "royals". It is also customary in some circles to refer to the extended relations of a deposed monarch and his or her descendants as a royal family.

Members of a royal family

A royal family typically includes the spouse of the reigning monarch, surviving spouses of a deceased monarch, the children, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, and cousins of the reigning monarch, as well as their spouses. In some cases, royal family membership may extend to great grandchildren and more distant descendants of a monarch. In certain monarchies where voluntary abdication is the norm, such as theNetherlands, a royal family may also include one or more former monarchs. There is often a distinction between persons of the blood royal and those that marry into the royal family. In certain instances, such as in Canada, the royal family is defined by who holds the titles Majesty andRoyal Highness.[1] Under most systems, only persons in the first category are dynasts, that is, potential successors to the throne (unless the member of the latter category is also in line to the throne in their own right, a frequent occurrence in royal families which frequently intermarry). This is not always observed; some monarchies have operated by the principle of jure uxoris.


The Royal Family of France in classical costume during the reign of Louis XIV.

In addition certain relatives of the monarch (by blood or marriage) possess special privileges and are subject to certain statutes, conventions, or special common law. The precise functions of a royal family vary depending on whether the polity in question is an absolute monarchy, a constitutional monarchy, or somewhere in between. In certain monarchies, such as that found in Saudi Arabia orKuwait, or in political systems where the monarch actually exercises executive power, such as inJordan, it is not uncommon for the members of a royal family to hold important government posts or military commands. In most constitutional monarchies, however, members of a royal family perform certain public, social, or ceremonial functions, but refrain from any involvement in electoral politics or the actual governance of the country.

The specific composition of royal families varies from country to country, as do the titles and royal and noble styles held by members of the family. The composition of the royal family may be regulated by statute enacted by the legislature (e.g. Spain, the Netherlands, and Japan since 1947), the Sovereign’s prerogative and common law tradition (e.g. the United Kingdom), or a private house law (e.g., Liechtenstein, the former ruling houses of Bavaria,Prussia, Hanover, etc.). Public statutes, constitutional provisions, or conventions may also regulate the marriages, names, and personal titles of royal family members. The members of a royal family may or may not have a surname or dynastic name (see Royal House).

In a constitutional monarchy, when the monarch dies, there is always a law or tradition of succession to the throne that either specifies a formula for identifying the precise order of succession among family members in line to the throne or specifies a process by which a family member is chosen to inherit the crown. Usually in the former case the exact line of hereditary succession among royal individuals may be identified at any given moment during prior reigns (e.g. United Kingdom, Sark, Nizari Ismailis, Japan, Balobedus, Sweden, Benin ) whereas in the latter case the next sovereign may be selected (or changed) only during the reign or shortly after the demise of the immediately preceding monarch (e.g.Cambodia, KwaZulu Natal, Buganda, Saudi Arabia, Swaziland, Yorubaland). Some monarchies employ a mix of these selection processes (Malaysia, Monaco, Tonga, Jordan, Morocco), providing for both an identifiable line of succession as well as authority for the monarch, dynasty or other institution to alter the line in specific instances without changing the general law of succession.

Some countries have abolished royalty altogether, as in post-revolutionary France and Russia.

Famous royal houses and dynasties

Current royal families

Deposed Royal Families

Mediatised Royal Families

See also


Haemophilia in European royalty

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Haemophilia figured prominently in the history of European royalty in the 19th and 20th centuries. Queen Victoria, through two of her five daughters (Princess Alice of the United Kingdom and Princess Beatrice of the United Kingdom), passed the mutation to various royal houses across the continent, including the royal families of Spain, Germany and Russia. Victoria’s son Leopold suffered from the disease. For this reason, haemophilia was once popularly called "the royal disease".

The sex-linked X chromosome disorder manifests almost entirely in males, although the gene for the disorder is inherited from the mother. However females carrying the faulty X chromosome can pass the chromosome to their descendants. Expression of the disorder is more common in males due to the fact that females have two X chromosomes while the male only has one. If a male’s X chromosome is defective, there is not another to mask the disorder. In about 30% of cases, however, there is no family history of the disorder and the condition is the result of a spontaneous gene mutation. [1]

Victoria appears to have been a spontaneous or de novo mutation, and is considered the source of this line of the disease. Her mother, Victoria, was not known to have a family history of the disease. Descendants of Victoria’s maternal half-sister, Feodora, are not known to have suffered from the disease. Queen Victoria’s father, Edward, was not a haemophiliac and the probability of her mother having had a lover who suffered from haemophilia is minuscule, primarily due to the low life expectancy of 19th century haemophiliacs.

Haemophilia family tree

The royal families’ history of haemophilia. Those who suffered from or carried haemophilia are enclosed in a box.

Queen Victoria’s daughter Victoria apparently escaped the haemophilia gene as it did not appear in any of her descendants. Victoria’s fifth child, Helena may or may not have been a carrier; two healthy sons survived to adulthood but two other sons died in infancy and her two daughters did not have issue. Victoria’s sixth child, Louise, died without issue. Her sons King Edward VII, Alfred, andArthur were not haemophiliacs. However, her son Leopold was a sufferer of haemophilia and her daughters Alice and Beatrice were confirmed carriers of the gene.

Princess Alice

Alice, Victoria’s third child, passed it on to at least three of her children: Friedrich, Irene, and Alix.

Prince Leopold

Leopold, Victoria’s eighth child, was a haemophiliac who died from bleeding after a fall. He lived to the age of 30, long enough to pass the gene on to his only daughter:

Alice of Albany’s youngest son Prince Maurice of Teck, died in infancy, so it is not known if he was a sufferer. Her daughter Lady May Abel Smith, Leopold’s granddaughter, apparently was not a carrier, as the disease has not appeared in her descendants.

Princess Beatrice

Princess Beatrice (later Princess Henry of Battenberg), Victoria’s ninth and last child, passed it on to at least two, if not three, of her children:


As of today, haemophilia is extinct in the reigning royal houses of Europe. The last royal descendant of Victoria known to suffer from the disease was Infante Gonzalo (born 1914). Many sons have been born to European royalty since and none is known to have had haemophilia. However, since the haemophilia gene remains hidden in females with only one bad gene, and female descendants of Victoria exist in several royal houses today, there remains a small chance that the disease could appear again, especially among the female-line Spanish descendants of Princess Beatrice.

  • Infanta Beatríz’s two sons were not affected by the disease. Beatriz’s eldest daughter, Sandra, has two children, a son and daughter. Her son is not affected, and her daughter has two sons, who are apparently unaffected. Beatríz’s youngest daughter, Olimpia, had six children; Her two eldest daughters, Beatrice and Sibilla are both married with children, none of whom, in the case of their sons, appear to be haemophiliacs. Olimpia’s youngest daughters are still unmarried, but there is still a chance they could be carriers. Another daughter, Laura, died as a child, as did her only son, Paul, the latter of whom was apparently not a haemophiliac.[4]
  • Infanta Maria Cristina had four daughters, all potential carriers. Her eldest daughter, Vittoria Eugenie, had a daughter and three sons, the latter all apparently unaffected. The Infanta’s second daughter, Giovanna, had only one child, an unaffected son. Her two youngest daughters, Donna Maria Teresa and Donna Anna Sandra, also have only daughters. Of these, only one, Maria Teresa’s second daughter, Isabel, is married, but she also has only a daughter. There is a chance the disease may remain in this branch of Princess Beatrice’s descendants.

Chronological Order

Queen Victoria died in 1901 so she lived to see a son and grandson die from the disease. A great-grandson was diagnosed with the disease as well. For a woman who was very concerned with having good blood in the family the revelation of a hereditary disease that would ravage the generations was horrifying. There is no sign of the disease into later generations, but it has been known to skip several generations.

In addition to the deaths from haemophilia, two other children of Victoria predeceased her and another would die only a few months after her.

Men who died of Haemophilia in Order of Death

Type of Haemophilia Discovered

Because the last known descendent with haemophilia of Queen Victoria’s family tree died in the 1940s, the exact type of haemophilia found in this family remained unknown until 2009. Using genetic analysis of the remains of the assassinated Romanov dynasty, and specifically Tsarevich Alexei, Rogaev et el were able to determine that the "Royal Disease" is actually haemophilia B.[5]


  1. ^ "Hemophilia B". Retrieved 2007-11-21.
  2. ^ Massey, Nicholas and Alexandra, 1967
  3. ^ Ian Vorres, The Last Grand Duchess, 1965 p. 115.
  4. ^ Haemophilia: royal blood disorder identified
  5. ^ Rogaev et al Science 2009: 326: 817.

References and external links

Categories: European royalty | Genetic disorders | Modern Europe | Haemophilia in European royalty


Saxe-Coburg and Gotha or the Hidden House of Windsor

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Saxe-Coburg and Gotha House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha

Saxe-Coburg and Gotha or Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (German: Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha) served as the name of two duchies, Saxe-Coburg and Saxe-Gotha, in Germany. They were located in what today are the states, Bavaria and Thuringia, respectively, and the two were in personal union between 1826 and 1918. The Duchy came to an end in 1918 with the other German monarchies, and the Free State of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was merged into the new state of Thuringia two years later.

The name, Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, also may refer to the family of the ruling House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. This family played many and varied roles in nineteenth-century European dynastic and political history.


The two duchies, Saxe-Coburg and Saxe-Gotha, were among the Saxon duchies held by the Ernestine branch of the Wettin dynasty. The duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha originated as the personal union of these two duchies in 1826 after the death of the last Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg, who died without male heirs. His Wettin relations repartitioned his lands. The former husband of Louise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg, the only niece of the last duke, was Duke Ernst I of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. He receivedGotha and changed his title to Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha although, technically, the two duchies remained as separate duchies.

Ernst I died in 1844. His elder son and successor, Ernst II, ruled until his own death in 1893. As he died childless, the throne of the duchies would have passed to the male descendants of Ernst’s late brother Albert the Prince Consort, husband of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom. However, the constitutions of two the duchies excluded the king and heir apparent of Great Britain from the ducal throne if other eligible male heirs existed,[1] although Albert Edward, Prince of Wales already had renounced his claim to the throne in favour of his next brother, Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh.

Alfred’s only son, also named Alfred, committed suicide in 1899, so when Duke Alfred died in 1900, he was succeeded by his nephew the Duke of Albany, the sixteen-year-old son of Queen Victoria’s youngest son, Leopold. Reigning as Duke Carl Eduard, under the regency of the Hereditary Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg until he came of age in 1905, Carl Eduard also continued to use the British title Duke of Albany. As Carl Eduard fought for Germany in the First World War, he was stripped of his British titles in 1919.[2]

Carl Eduard reigned until November 18, 1918 during the German Revolution, when the Workers’ and Soldiers’ Council of Gotha deposed him. The two Duchies, bereft of a common ruler, became separate states until shortly thereafter, when they ceased to exist. Saxe-Coburg became a part of Bavaria and Saxe-Gotha merged with other small states in 1920 to form the new state of Thuringia in the Weimar Republic.

The capitals of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha were Coburg and Gotha. By 1914 the area and populations of the two duchies were:[3]

Saxe-Coburg and Gotha1

Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was the only European country to appoint a diplomatic consul to the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War. This consul, Ernst Raven, was assigned to a position in the state of Texas. Raven applied to the Confederate Government for a diplomatic exequatur on July 30, 1861 and was accepted.[1]


The Children of the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in 1917: Princess Sybilleand Prince Hubertus

According to the House law of the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha the full title of the Duke was:

Wir, Ernst, Herzog zu Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha, Jülich, Cleve und Berg, auch Engern und Westphalen, Landgraf in Thüringen, Markgraf zu Meißen, gefürsteter Graf zu Henneberg, Graf zu der Mark und Ravensberg, Herr zu Ravenstein und Tonna usw.

Translation: We, Ernst, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Jülich, Cleves and Berg, also Angria and Westphalia, Landgrave in Thuringia, Margrave of Meissen, Princely Count of Henneberg, Count of the Mark and Ravensberg, Lord of Ravenstein and Tonna, et cetera.

Dukes, 1826–1918
Heads of the House since 1918
Title and Style of other members of the House

The tradition of the titular dignity of Prince or Princess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and the attribute of ‘Highness’ is owed to all male line descendants, without regard to how many generations. Use may, however, be restricted in case of marriage in opposition to House laws or a member renouncing for themselves and their descendants.[citation needed]

The House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha is a German dynasty, the senior line of the Saxon House of Wettin that ruled the Ernestine duchies, including the duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. It is also the royal house of several European monarchies, and branches currently reign in Belgium through the descendants of Leopold I, and in the United Kingdom through the descendants of Prince Albert. Due to anti-German sentiment in the United Kingdom during World War I, George V of the United Kingdom changed the name of his branch from Saxe-Coburg and Gotha to Windsor in 1917. The same happened in Belgium where it was changed to "van België" (Dutch) or "de Belgique" (French).

Ernst’s younger brother Leopold became King of the Belgians in 1831, and his descendants continue to serve as Belgian head of state. Léopold’s only daughter, Princess Charlotte of Belgium, was the consort of Maximilian I of Mexico, known as the Empress Carlota of Mexico, in the 1860s. Ernst’s nephew Ferdinand married Queen Maria II of Portugal, and his descendants continued to rule Portugal until that country became a republic in 1910.

Another scion of the family, also named Ferdinand, became Prince, and then Tsar, of Bulgaria, and his descendants continued to rule there until 1946. The current head of the House of Bulgaria, the former King Simeon II who was deposed and exiled during World War II, goes by the name Simeon Sakskoburggotski and on 24 July 2001 was elected Bulgaria’s prime minister.

In 1826, a cadet branch of the house inherited the Hungarian princely estate of Kohary, and converted to Roman Catholicism. Its members managed to marry an imperial princess of Brazil, an archduchess of Austria, a royal princess of "the French", a royal princess of Belgium and a royal princess of Saxony.

The ducal house consisted of all male-line descendents of John Ernest IV, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld legitimately born of an equal marriage, males and females (the latter until their marriage), their wives in equal and authorised marriages, and their widows until remarriage. According to the House law of the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha the full title of the Duke was:

Wir, Ernst, Herzog zu Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha, Jülich, Cleve und Berg, auch Engern und Westphalen, Landgraf in Thüringen, Markgraf zu Meißen, gefürsteter Graf zu Henneberg, Graf zu der Mark und Ravensberg, Herr zu Ravenstein und Tonna usw.Translation: We, Ernst, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Jülich, Cleves and Berg, also Angria and Westphalia, Landgrave in Thuringia, Margrave of Meissen, Princely Count of Henneberg, Count of the Mark and Ravensberg, Lord of Ravenstein and Tonna, et cetera.


Ducal branch
Dukes, 1826–1918
Heads of the house since 1918

Although the ducal branch is eponymous with the dynasty, its head is not the genealogically or agnatically senior member of the family. In 1893 the reigning duke died childless, whereupon the throne of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha would have devolved, by male primogeniture, upon the British branch descended from Prince Albert. However, as heirs to the British throne, Albert’s descendants consented and the law of the duchy ratified that the ducal throne would not be inherited by the British monarch or heir apparent. Therefore, the German duchy became a secundogeniture, hereditary among the younger princes of the British royal family who belonged to the House of Wettin, and their male-line descendants.

Instead of the future Edward VII of the United Kingdom inheriting the duchy, it was diverted to his next brother, Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh and, upon the latter’s death without surviving sons, to the youngest grandson of Prince Albert and Queen Victoria, Prince Charles Edward, Duke of Albany (bypassingPrince Arthur, Duke of Connaught (and his male line) who, although senior by birth to his nephew Charles Edward, preferred to remain on British soil).

The current head of the ducal branch, Andreas, Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, is therefore the descendant and German heir of Charles Edward. Should his legitimate male line become extinct, the claim to the Saxon duchy (which lost its sovereignty and independent existence in 1918) would revert to the male line of Edward VII, currently represented in chief by Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester.

Kings of the Belgians
Belgian royal house

Because of the First World War, the family name was changed to van België, de Belgique or von Belgien ("of Belgium"), depending upon which of the country’s three official languages (Dutch, French and German) is in use. It is this family name which is used on the identity cards and in all official documents by Belgium’s royalty (marriage licenses, etc.).[citation needed]

Kingdom of Portugal

In Portugal the former royal house is usually not distinguished from the House of Braganza

Manuel II died childless in 1932. He recognised as his successor his distant cousin Duarte Nuno, Duke of Braganza, who is not a descendant of Ferdinand II, or the house of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Duarte Nuno and his successors, as claimants to the Portuguese throne, are therefore members of the House of Braganza, rather than the House of Braganza-Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

Kingdom of Bulgaria
United Kingdom

If Elizabeth II is succeeded by her child (or a child of one of her sons), the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha will be succeeded patrilineally and by the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, a cadet branch of the House of Oldenburg. However, by a 1960 Order in Council, her children also bear the name of Windsor and therefore the reigning dynasty will continue under that name unless changed.

According to the official website of the British monarchy, however, "the only British monarch of the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was King Edward VII, who reigned for nine years. King George V replaced the German-sounding title with the name of Windsor during the First World War. The name Saxe-Coburg-Gotha survived in other European realms, including the former monarchies of Portugal and Bulgaria and in the Belgian royal family until 1920."[5]

Names of the British royal house

Ernest I‘s younger son, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, became Prince Consort to Queen Victoria, Ernst’s niece through his sister Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. As a consequence of their marriage, Saxe-Coburg and Gotha became the dynasty of the British Royal Family from the accession of Edward VII in 1901 until changed to Windsor by King George V in 1917, during the United Kingdom’s war with the German Empire.

Contrary to common belief, Saxe-Coburg and Gotha was not the personal surname of either Prince Albert, his wife or their descendants. Queen Victoria launched an inquiry to identify her surname. After an exhaustive search her advisors concluded that Prince Albert (and thus the Queen—by virtue of her marriage) had the surname Wettin.[citation needed]

George V changed both Wettin and Saxe-Coburg and Gotha to Windsor by proclamation in 1917. However, an Order-in-Council in 1960 decreed that the name and dynasty of Queen Elizabeth II would remain "Windsor", as would that of her children by her consort Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (save that of any of their daughters who married). The order stipulated, however, that those of their male-line descendants who do not bear the title of prince or princess and the style of Royal Highness would have the surname of Mountbatten-Windsor. In fact, some of Elizabeth II’s children have also chosen, on occasion, to use that designation on legal documents.


Patrilineality, descent as reckoned from father to son, has historically been the principle determining membership in reigning families, thus the dynasty to which the monarchs of the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha belonged genealogically through the twentieth century is the House of Wettin, despite the official use of varying names by different branches of the patriline.

Descent before Conrad the Great may not be entirely accurate.[6]

House of Wettin
  1. Burkhard I, Duke of Thuringia, d. 870
  2. Burchard, Duke of Thuringia, 836–908
  3. (possibly) Burkhard III of Grabfeldgau, 866–913
  4. Dedi I, Count of Hessegau, 896–957
  5. (probably) Dietrich I of Wettin, d. 976
  6. (possibly) Dedi II, Count of Hessegau, 946–1009
  7. Dietrich II of Wettin, 991–1034
  8. Thimo I of Wettin, d. 1099
  9. Thimo II the Brave, Count of Wettin, d. 1118
  10. Conrad, Margrave of Meissen, 1098–1157
  11. Otto II, Margrave of Meissen, 1125–1190
  12. Dietrich I, Margrave of Meissen, 1162–1221
  13. Henry III, Margrave of Meissen, c. 1215–1288
  14. Albert II, Margrave of Meissen, 1240–1314
  15. Frederick I, Margrave of Meissen, 1257–1323
  16. Frederick II, Margrave of Meissen, 1310–1349
  17. Frederick III, Landgrave of Thuringia, 1332–1381
  18. Frederick I, Elector of Saxony, 1370–1428
  19. Frederick II, Elector of Saxony, 1412–1464
  20. Ernest, Elector of Saxony, 1441–1486
  21. John, Elector of Saxony, 1468–1532
  22. John Frederick I, Elector of Saxony, 1503–1554
  23. John William, Duke of Saxe-Weimar, 1530–1573
  24. John II, Duke of Saxe-Weimar, 1570–1605
  25. Ernest I, Duke of Saxe-Gotha, 1601–1675
  26. John Ernest IV, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, 1658–1729
  27. Francis Josias, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, 1697–1764
  28. Ernest Frederick, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, 1724–1800
  29. Francis, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, 1750–1806
  30. Ernest I, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, 1784–1844
  31. Albert, Prince Consort, 1819–1861
  32. Edward VII of the United Kingdom, 1841–1910
  33. George V of the United Kingdom, 1865–1936


  1. ^ Bulgaria: Timeline, BBC News Online, 27 June 2007. Retrieved on 28 July 2007.
  2. ^ Former king marks first year as Bulgarian Prime Minister, Radio Free Europe, 26 July 2002. Retrieved on 28 July 2007.
  3. ^ Bulgarian (or Spanish) Prime Minister?, Bulgaria Development Gateway, 24 July 2003. Retrieved on 28 July 2007.
  4. ^ Lord Alderdice speaking in the House of Lords on 19 May 2005, Hansard. Retrieved on 28 July 2007.
  5. ^ Saxe-Coburg-Gotha on the official website of the British monarchy
  6. ^ Konrad ‘the Great’ von Groitzsch-Rochlitz in Jamie Allen’s Family Tree & Ancient Genealogical Allegation


House of Windsor

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

House of Windsor

The House of Windsor is the current Royal House of the United Kingdom and each of the other Commonwealth realms. It is a branch of the German House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (German: Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha), which adopted the English name Windsor by a royal proclamation on the 17 July 1917. The most prominent member of the House of Windsor is Elizabeth II, the reigning monarch over the Commonwealth realms.[1] However, the head of the House of Windsor (cadet branch of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha) is Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester, as the senior male-line descendant of King George V, who founded the house by changing its name from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to Windsor. The overall head of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, including the Windsor branch, is Andreas, Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. The heir to the thrones of the Commonwealth realms, Charles, Prince of Wales, is a member of a distinct House of Windsor, a cadet branch of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg as membership to European royal houses is determined by patrilineal descent.[citation needed]

Descendants of Victoria


"A Good Riddance". Propaganda cartoon from Punch, Vol. 152, 27 June 1917, commenting on the King having ordered the relinquishing of the German titles held by members of His Majesty’s family.

Queen Victoria was married to Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha – son of Duke Ernst I of the small German duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Her descendants were also members of the ducal family of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a minor branch of the thousand-year-old House of Wettin. It was Victoria’s desire that her son rule as a member of the House of Wettin, instead of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, because she felt the older name would conjure images of the shared Saxon heritage of Germany and England. However, the name Wettin was never widely accepted. Victoria’s son, Edward VII, and, in turn, his son, George V, reigned as members of this house.

High anti-German sentiment amongst the people of the British Empire during World War I reached a peak in March 1917, when the Gotha G.IV, a heavy aircraft capable of crossing the English Channel began bombing London directly. The aircraft became a household name, and coincidently was part of the name of the royal family. These bombings were coupled with the abdication of King George’s first cousin, Nicholas II, the Tsar of Russia on 15 March 1917, which raised the specter of the eventual abolition of all the monarchies in Europe. The King and his family were finally convinced to abandon all titles held under the German Crown, and to change German titles and house names to anglicized versions. Hence, on 17 July 1917, a Royal Proclamation issued by George V declared

Now, therefore, We, out of Our Royal Will and Authority, do hereby declare and announce that as from the date of this Our Royal Proclamation Our House and Family shall be styled and known as the House and Family of Windsor, and that all the descendants in the male line of Our said Grandmother Queen Victoria who are subjects of these Realms, other than female descendants who may marry or may have married, shall bear the said Name of Windsor…

Upon hearing that his cousin had changed the name of the British royal house to Windsor, German Emperor Wilhelm II remarked jokingly that he planned to see Shakespeare‘s play The Merry Wives of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.

The name had a long association with British royalty, through the town of Windsor, Berkshire and Windsor Castle, a link reflected in the Round Tower of Windsor Castle being the basis of the badge of the House of Windsor. At the same time, Prince Louis of Battenberg adopted the surname Mountbatten, a partial translation into English. Prince Louis is the maternal grandfather of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

Only a single person, Alastair Windsor, 2nd Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, who was not a descendant of George V, ever bore the surname Windsor, and he died without issue. So today the only living royal Windsors are the agnatic descendants of George V.

Descendants of Elizabeth II

Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom 

When Princess Elizabeth (as she then was) married Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, the standard practice would be to adopt his family household name. Because he was a prince, Prince Philip did not have a surname but he was of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, a minor branch of the House of Oldenburg. Not wishing to repeat the difficulties of three decades previous, before his marriage Prince Philip renounced his titles and adopted the surname Mountbatten, which his maternal grandfather had created in 1917.

On 9 April 1952, Queen Elizabeth II officially declared 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 who marry and their descendants, shall bear the name of Windsor."[2]. On 8 February 1960, 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 (manner of address) of Royal Highness, and the title of Prince or Princess.[2] Still, Elizabeth also decreed that her agnaticdescendants who do not have that style and title would bear the surname Mountbatten-Windsor.[2]

Any future monarch can change the dynastic name through a similar royal proclamation, but the Prince of Wales has not signaled any intention either way.[citation needed] Even if the agnatic descendants of the Queen would retain the name Windsor, they are and will remain to be members of the House of Oldenburg.

Members of the House of Windsor

George V had five sons, their descendants are shown in the table. Two of the descendants are deceased, as of this writing (Princess Margaret and Prince William of Gloucester), and seven are Catholic. The other 39 are the initial people in the line of succession. CA means excluded from succession due to being Roman Catholic or having married a Catholic.


Designation and details

At the creation of the House of Windsor, its head reigned over a unitary British Empire. Following the end of the First World War, however, geo-political shifts took place that saw the emergence of the dominions as sovereign states, the first step being the issuance of the Balfour Declaration in 1926, followed by the Royal and Parliamentary Titles Act the next year, and the Statute of Westminster in 1931. From then on, the House of Windsor became the royal house of multiple countries, a number that shifted over the decades as various Dominions and Crown colonies gained independence, and various of those moved to become monarchies under a different sovereign or a republic. Since 1949, the head of the House of Windsor is alsoHead of the Commonwealth of Nations, comprising most (but not all) parts of the former British Empire and some states that were never part of it.

In the chart below, the countries are differentiated between light green (realms of the House of Windsor as dominions), medium green (present realms of the House of Windsor), and dark green (former realms of the House of Windsor).

Realms of the House of Windsor

List of Commonwealth realms monarchs

Relationship with predecessor

King Edward VII
22 January 1901
6 May 1910
son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

King George V
6 May 1910
20 January 1936
son of Edward VII.

Edward VIII (face).jpg
King Edward VIII
20 January 1936
11 December 1936
son of George V; Abdicated.

King George VI
11 December 1936
6 February 1952
son of George V & brother of abdicated Edward VIII.

Queen Elizabeth II
6 February 1952
daughter of George VI.

Timeline of Monarchs

House of Windsor and the Line of Succession


George V (right) with his first cousin, Nicholas II, in 1913.

When the House of Windsor was created, the House of Windsor included George V and his children. However, there was no law passed to limit the Line of Succession. At this time the line was approaching a thousand people who were legitimately descended from George I and not disqualified by religion. In addition to the six Windsor children, the next five on the list were British. So, even considering the dangers of wartime, it was highly unlikely that a series of disasters would occur that resulted in the crown passing outside of the kingdom. Therefore it would not have been risky to limit the line to these eleven people.

The British members were followed by the royal members in Norway and Romania, and Tsar Nicholas II of Russia. The Tsar was descended from George I via three different bloodlines. The Tsar’s wife was a first cousin of George V. Kaiser Wilhelm II, was also a first cousin of George V, sharing a common grandmother, Queen Victoria, so he was on the list. The line of succession was roughly half Germans. The line included all of the Kings of Prussia except the first king. The line of succession apparently did not disturb the public as much as the Germanic household names, the Germanic titles, and the photos of their King riding with the Emperor of Germany taken only three years earlier.

Further reading

See also

The Nazi Roots of the House of Windsor

by Scott Thompson
Printed in The American Almanac, August 25, 1997.


One of the biggest public relations hoaxes ever perpetrated by the British Crown, is that King Edward VIII, who abdicated the throne in 1938, due to his support for the Nazis, was a “black sheep,” an aberration in an otherwise unblemished Windsor line. Nothing could be further from the truth. The British monarchy, and the City of London’s leading Crown bankers, enthusiastically backed Hitler and the Nazis, bankrolled the Führer’s election, and did everything possible to build the Nazi war machine, for Britain’s planned geopolitical war between Germany and Russia.

Support for Nazi-style genocide has always been at the heart of House of Windsor policy, and long after the abdication of Edward VIII, the Merry Windsors maintained their direct Nazi links.

So, when Prince Philip, co-founder with Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), tells an interviewer that he hopes to be “reincarnated as a deadly virus” to help solve the “population problem,” he is just “doin’ what comes naturally” for any scion of the Anglo-Dutch oligarchy (see page 8 for more quotes from Prince Philip).

To get beyond the soap opera stuff and truly understand the Windsors today, it is useful to start with Prince Philip. Not only was he trained in the Hitler Youth curriculum, but his German brothers-in-law, with whom he lived, all became high-ranking figures in the Nazi Party.

Before his family was forced into exile, Prince Philip had been in line of succession to the Greek throne, established after a British-run coup against the son of King Ludwig of Bavaria, who became King Otto I of the Hellenes. Having dispatched King Otto in 1862, London ran a talent search for a successor, which resulted in the selection of Prince William, the son of the designated heir and nephew to the Danish king, Crown Prince Christian. In 1862, Prince William of the Danes was installed as King George I of Greece, and married a granddaughter of Czar Nicholas I in 1866. Prince Philip is a grandson of Queen Victoria, and he is related to most of the current and former crowned heads of Europe, including seven czars.

The marriages of Prince Philip’s sisters definitely strengthened the German aristocratic ties. During 1931-1932, Philip’s four older sisters married as follows: Margarita to a Czech-Austrian prince named Gottfried von Hohenlohe-Langenburg, a great-grandson of England’s Queen Victoria; Theodora to Berthold, the margrave of Baden; Cecilia to Georg Donatus, grand duke of Hesse-by-Rhine, also a great-grandson of Queen Victoria; and, Sophie to Prince Christoph of Hesse.

Three of Philip’s brothers-in-law were part of a group of German aristocrats who were Anglophile and pro-Nazi at the same time, and who remain a subversive force in Germany to this day.

Enter Prince Bernhard

His Royal Highness Prince Bernhard, royal consort to Queen Juliana of the Netherlands and father of the current Queen Beatrix, co-founded and became the first head of the World Wildlife Fund (now the World Wide Fund for Nature) in October 1961. When the Lockheed scandal forced Prince Bernhard to resign from his most important public functions in 1971, he was replaced by Prince Philip. Prince Bernhard, like Prince Philip, whom he recruited to the eco-fascist cause, had strong roots in the Nazi movement.

In fact, the whole House of Orange did: Queen Wilhelmina, mother of the future Queen Juliana, married a right-wing playboy who begged for money for Hitler; Juliana married an SS man (Prince Bernhard); and, Queen Juliana’s daughter Beatrix married a former member of Hitler Youth.

Prince Bernhard first became interested in the Nazis in 1934, during his last year of study at the University of Berlin. He was recruited by a member of the Nazi intelligence services, but first worked openly in the motorized SS. Bernhard went to Paris to work for the firm IG Farben, which pioneered Nazi Economics Minister Hjalmar Schacht’s slave labor camp system by building concentration camps to convert coal into synthetic gasoline and rubber. Bernhard’s role was to conduct espionage on behalf of the SS. According to the April 5, 1976 issue of Newsweek, this role, as part of a special SS intelligence unit in IG Farbenindustrie, had been revealed in testimony at the Nuremberg trials.

When Bernhard left the SS to marry the future Queen Juliana, he signed his letter of resignation to Adolf Hitler, “Heil Hitler!” William Hoffman writes in his book Queen Juliana:

“Tensions [over the marriage] were not cooled when … Adolf Hitler forwarded his own congratulatory message. The newspaper Het Volk editorialized that `it would be better if the future Queen had found a consort in some democratic country rather than in the Third Reich.’|”

This is the man who recruited Prince Philip to eco-facism, but Prince Philip’s Nazi roots had been laid much earlier.

Hitler Youth and Universal Fascism

Through the influence of his sister Theodora, young Philip was sent to the German school near Lake Constantine that had been founded by Berthold’s father, Max von Baden, working through his longtime personal secretary, Kurt Hahn. During World War I, Prince Max von Baden had been chancellor, while the Oxford-trained Hahn first served as head of the Berlin Foreign Ministry’s intelligence desk, then as special adviser to Prince Max in the Versailles Treaty negotiations. Von Baden and Hahn set up a school in a wing of Schloss Salem, employing a combination of monasticism and the Nazis’ “strength-through-joy” system. At first a supporter of the Nazis, Hahn, who was part Jewish, soon got into trouble with the SS, and came to support the more centrist elements of the Nazi Party. What Hahn really had become is what Henry Kissinger’s friend, Michael Ledeen has termed a “universal fascist,” in the sense of Vladimir Jabotinsky, Count Coudenhove-Kalergi, the Strasser brothers, and other fascists whom the hard-core Nazis would have no dealings with.

Although Hahn’s powerful connections permitted him to escape the concentration camps, he was forced to leave the school he founded in Germany before Philip’s arrival there, and established a new school in Scotland, called Gordonstoun. It would play a major role in rearing all the male children of Queen Elizabeth II and Philip. When Philip arrived at Hahn’s school in Schloss Salem, it was in control of the Hitler Youth and the Nazi Party, and the curriculum had become Nazi “race science.” Hahn became an adviser to the Foreign Office in London, urging policies of appeasement based upon appeals to the “centrist” Nazis.

Philip’s Relatives Work for the SS

The husband of Philip’s sister Sophie, Prince Christoph, was embraced by the Nazis, who saw him as a channel to the appeasement faction in Britain epitomized by King Edward VIII. Joining the Nazi Party in 1933, by 1935 Prince Christoph was chief of the Forschungsamt (directorate of scientific research), a special intelligence operation run by Hermann Göring, and he was also Standartenführer (colonel) of the SS on Heinrich Himmler’s personal staff. The Forschungsamt used electronic intelligence-gathering methods to police the Nazi Party, while working with the Gestapo against the Catholic Church, the Jews, and labor organizations. When rumors of homosexuality spread against Capt. Ernst Roehm of the Stormtroopers, Himmler turned to the Forschungsamt’s eavesdroppers, and ordered the “Night of the Long Knives” as a result. The eldest of Prince Christoph and Sophie’s children was named Karl Adolf, after Hitler. Later, Prince Philip would promote his education.

Prince Christoph’s brother, Philip of Hesse, married a daughter of the King of Italy, and became the official liaison between the Nazi and Fascist regimes.

Four years after Prince Philip left Schloss Salem to attend Gordonstoun Academy in Scotland, on Nov. 16, 1937, Philip learned that his sister Cecilia and her husband Georg Donatus, hereditary grand duke of Hesse-by-Rhine, had crashed in one of Göring’s Junker aircraft on a trip to London for Georg’s brother’s wedding. According to the British magazine Private Eye, the funeral became a gathering point for leading Nazis and their appeasers. Prince Philip himself developed secretive ties with King Edward VIII, continuing after Edward was deposed in 1938.

In fact, one of the central figures in the 1930s Nazi-British back-channel was Philip’s uncle and sponsor, Lord Louis Mountbatten (originally, Battenberg, a branch of the House of Hesse). Until he was forced to abdicate, King Edward VIII enjoyed the full backing of “Dickie” Mountbatten. Through much of World War II, secret channels of communication were maintained between the British royal family and their pro-Hitler cousins in Germany, by Lord Mountbatten, through his sister Louise, who was crown princess of pro-Nazi Sweden. Louise was Prince Philip’s aunt.

Although Buckingham Palace’s rumor mill has tried to depict this wartime collaboration with the enemy as mere family correspondence, the channel apparently included messages from Prince Philip’s secret ally, the Duke of Windsor (the former Edward VIII). On Nov. 20, 1995, the Washington Times reported, based on recently discovered Portuguese Secret Service files first published in the London Observer, that the Duke of Windsor had been in close collaboration with the Nazis in Spain and Portugal to foment a revolution in wartime Britain, that would topple the Churchill government, depose his brother King George VI, and allow him to regain the throne, with Queen Wallis [Simpson, the American divorcée, for whom he abdicated the throne] at his side. Portuguese surveillance revealed that Walter Schellenberg, head of Gestapo counterintelligence, was one point of contact in this plot. After Schellenberg met with the Spanish ambassador to Portugal, Nicolás Franco, brother of fascist Gen. Francisco Franco, Ambassador Franco told a Portuguese diplomat: “The Duke of Windsor, free from the responsibilities of the war, in disagreement with English politicians, could be the man to put at the head of the Empire.”

Whatever correspondence was hidden in Sophie and Prince Christoph’s Kronberg Castle, King George VI, in June 1945, felt compelled to dispatch the former MI-5 officer turned “Surveyor of the King’s Pictures,” Anthony Blunt, to gather up the correspondence. Queen Elizabeth II reportedly insisted that there be no interrogation of Blunt about his secret trip to the castle. Otherwise, it is notable that starting with an exchange between King George VI and President Eisenhower, the House of Windsor has been desperate to keep classified those documents from Kronberg Castle that fell into American Army hands, long beyond the normal length of time. Clearly, Prince Philip’s patron Lord Dickie Mountbatten, Mountbatten’s sister Crown Princess Louise, and Philip’s brother-in-law Prince Christoph of Hesse were not just exchanging Christmas greetings.