Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Question: Queen's House, Dynasty and surname

Scott Scott has asked:

Whats the difference between a 'House' and a Dynasty? What is The Queen's House, Dynasty and surname?

Thank you for your question!

A dynasty is a line of continuous rulers from the same family. The term 'dynasty' doesn't just apply to a royal family but to political families, well known examples of this would be the Bush family or the Kennedy's.
Eleven dynasties have held the English crown: Anglo-Saxon, Normans, Angevins, Plantagenets, Lancastrians, Yorkist, Tudors, Stuarts, Hanoverians, Saxe-Cobourg-Gotha and Windsor. For more information on the individual dynasties, as well as the Scottish ones, go to: http://www.royal.gov.uk/output/Page5.asp

The Royal House refers to the official designation and name of the Royal family instead of a surname.The name of the Royal House is not a surname but a way of identifying individuals. In the UK the Royal House and surname were the same until 1960. During the reign of King Edward VII the royal family had the house name of Saxe-Coburgh & Gotha; however Edward VII was to be the only sovereign of this house. During WW1 when King George V ruled, there was a lot of anti-German sentiment in England so the house name and family surname were changed to the more English sounding Windsor. The announcement stated that:

'as from the date of this Our Royal Proclamation (17 July 1917) Our House and Family shall be styled and known as the House and Family of Windsor'

During WW2 Princess Elizabeth (the present Queen) undertook National Service and she was registered as Second Subaltern Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor. The Queen is the fourth sovereign of the House of Windsor. In 1952, at the beginning of her reign, she declared that:

'She and her children shall be styled and known as the House and Family of Windsor, and that Her decendants, other than female decendants who marry, and their decendants, shall bear the name of Windsor'

In 1960 the Queen, wanting to recognize her husband, and not wanting to change the name of the house established by her grandfather, changed this and declared that those of her decendants not entitled to the style of Royal Highness or Prince or Princess, and female decendants who married and their decendants, would in future use the surname Mountbatten-Windsor. The first use of this new surname was on the marriage register of Princess Anne in 1973.

Examples of other Royal House names include:

Begium: Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
Netherlands: Orange-Nassau
Denmark: Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glucksburg
Spain: Bourbon
Norway: Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glucksburg
Sweden: Bernadotte

© Marilyn Braun 2005

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