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Surname of the Royal Family

 

Declaration by the Queen declaring that She and Her children shall be styled and known as the House and Family of Windsor

 

[3647/52, 3647/41]

 


Cabinet document

Reference: extract from 20th Cabinet Conclusions

Date: 20 Feb 1952

removed and destroyed.

For complete series see Cab (Cabinet Office) Classes

 

signed: JP Adams Date: 17-10-91

 


23rd February, 1952

 

Dear Mr. Whittick,

 

According to the cabinet conclusion Number 2 of the 20th February the Cabinet invited the Lord Chancellor, in consultation with the Home Secretary and Law Officers, to prepare and submit to the Cabinet a draft proclamation declaring that the Queen and her descendants would continue to bear the name of Windsor.

 

The Lord Chancellor has accordingly prepared a draft for consideration by the Home Secretary and the Law Officers. I enclose the draft together with a copy of

the proclamation of the 17th July, 1917, and a Note on the draft. The Lord Chancellor hopes to arrange a meeting m his room to discuss the draft at a time which would suit the Home Secretary and the Law Officers.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

P.D.

 

Assistant private secretary

 

 

 

R. J. Whittick, Esq.


 

BY    THE    QUEEN

 

A      PROCLAMATION

 

WHEREAS    Our beloved Grandfather His late Majesty King George the Fifth did by Proclamation dated the seventeenth day of July one thousand nine hundred and seventeen declare out of His Royal Will and Authority that His House and Family should thenceforward be styled and known as the House and Family of Windsor and that all the descendants in the male line of Her late Majesty Queen Victoria who should he subjects of these Realms, other than female descendants who might marry or might have married, should bear the name of Windsor;

AND   WHEREAS    it was the desire and intention of Their late Majesties King George the Fifth and King George the Sixth that the House and Family of any of Their descendants who should succeed Them whether as King or as Queen of these Realms should continue to be styled and known as the House and Family of Windsor;

. AND   WHEREAS   We, having by the Will of God become Queen

of these Realms, have determined that, in accordance with the desire and intention of Their late Majesties of Blessed and Glorious Memory, Our House and Family shall continue to be styled and known as the House and Family of Windsor, and that all Our descendants who are subjects of these Realms, other than female descendants who may marry and their descendants, shall bear the name of Windsor;

AND    WHEREAS    We have declared this Our determination in Our Privy Council: NOW   THEREFORE    We out of Our Royal Will and Authority Do hereby declare and announce that Our House and Family shall continue to be styled and known as the House and Family of Windsor, and that all Our descendants who are subjects of these Realms, other than female descendants who may marry and their descendants, shall bear the name of Windsor.

GIVEN    at Our Court at Buckingham Palace this                    day of                    in the year

of Our Lord One thousand nine hundred and fifty-two in the First year of Our Reign.

GOD    SAVE    THE    QUEEN

 


The Royal Family Name

 

Note on draft Proclamation

 

The need for a Proclamation about the Royal Family name arises from the wording of the proclamation of 1917. Those who were to bear the name of Windsor were expressed to be "all the descendants in the male line of Queen Victoria who are subjects of these Realms, other than female descendants who may marry or who may have married."

 

The Queen is a descendant of Queen Victoria in the male line, but she is a female descendant who has married, and her children and other descendants are not descended from Queen Victoria in the male line.

 

It follows that, as far as that proclamation goes, neither the Queen nor Prince Charles nor Princess Anne bore the name of Windsor before her accession, nor do they bear it now.

This result could not have been the intention of George the Fifth in 1917, but the fact remains that the draftsmen of the proclamation did not provide expressly for the event of the Sovereign being a Queen.

 

The substance of the draft therefore is that the Queen is carrying out the desire and intention of George the Fifth and George the Sixth, and that the reason why she has to take action is that she is a Queen and not a King and that as far as the name of Windsor is concerned, the proclamation of 1917 does not fit her case or that of her descendants.

One of the difficulties of drafting is caused by the desire that there should have been no period since the accession during which the Queen and her children were not of the House and Family of Windsor and did not bear the name of Windsor. The family name could not have been Windsor before the Queen determined that it should be.  It hardly seems right to imply that the Queen began to think about her family name at the moment of her accession.

 

There is fortunately a distinction between the name on the one hand and House and Family on the other.  It is not clear that Princess Elizabeth ceased to be of the House and Family of Windsor when she married, and the draft is worded on the assumption that she did not.  There seems no difficulty in the Queen declaring that her House and Family should continue to be styled and known as the House and Family of Windsor, and this continuity makes less important any interval between the accession and the determination about the name.

 

The draft does not say expressly that the Queen herself is to bear the name of Windsor.  It is not clear that a Queen need have any surname herself.

 

It seems enough that she should be of the House and Family of Windsor and that her descendants should bear the name of Windsor.

 

The third recital omits the words "in the male line" which appear in the proclamation of 1917.  The reason is that Princess Anne is not descended from the Queen in the male line.  Yet it seems right that until she marries she should bear the name of Windsor, in so far as she needs any surname at all; ( and so with any other daughters who may be born hereafter.

 

The omission of the words "in the male line" makes it necessary to insert the words "and their descendants" after the words "other than female descendants who may marry".  Otherwise, the children of (say) Princess Anne would have been given the name of Windsor instead of their father's family name.

 

The third recital contains the phrase "ascend the Throne of these Realms" It has been suggested that some Dominion might conceivably object to this phrase. A possible alternative would be "become Queen of these Realms", but "Queen of these Realms" comes two lines before and the repetition is to be avoided, if possible.

 

Lord Chancellor's Office,

House of Lords, S.W.  1.

 

23rd February,  1952.


Lord Chancellor


Draft Proclamation declaring that the Queen and her Descendants should continue to bear the name of Windsor

 

The Home Secretary, the Attorney General, the Solicitor General and the solicitor General for Scotland (Mr. W.R. Milligan) will attend a meeting to discuss these three papers at 11.45 a.m. tomorrow, Tuesday, 26th February, in Conference Room B at the Cabinet Office.  The Lord Advocate will be unable to attend.

 

25th February, 1952


 

draft as sent to Cabinet 26 Feb.

 

CABINET

 

ROYAL FAMILY NAME

 

Memorandum by. the Lord Chancellor

 

At their Meeting on 20 February, the Cabinet invited me, in consultation with the Home Secretary and the Law Officers, to prepare a draft proclamation declaring that the Queen and Her descendants would continue to bear the name of Windsor (C.C. (52) 20th Conclusions, Minute 2).  I now circulate a .draft proclamation for this purpose -

Annex I - which has been prepared in consultation with my colleagues.

 

I believe it to be apt for the purpose, and I recommend its adoption.

 

1.               On the 17th July, 1917, King George V issued a proclamation declaring that His House and Family should thenceforth be styled and known as the House and Family of Windsor, and relinquishing the use of all German titled and dignities. Attention is drawn to the wording of that proclamation (see annex II).  Those who were to bear the

name of Windsor wore expressed to be "all the descendants in the male line of Queen Victoria who are subjects of these Realms, other than female descendants who may marry or who may have married."

 

2.               The Queen is a descendant of Queen Victoria in the male line, but She is a female descendant who has married, and Her children and other descendants are not descended from Queen Victoria in the male line. It follows that, as far as that proclamation goes, neither The Queen nor Prince Charles nor Princess Anne bore the name of Windsor before Her accession.

 

3.               I think that Princess Elisabeth did not cease to be of the House and Family of Windsor when She married. In my draft The Queen declares that Her House and Family shall continue to be styled and known as the House and Family of Windsor.

 

4.               It is arguable at least that after The Queen's accession the name to be borne by Her children and other descendants would not be Windsor. This could not have been the intention of King George V in 1917, but the draftsman of the proclamation did not provide expressly for the event of the Sovereign being a Quean.

 

5.               The substance of my draft is therefore that The Oueen is carrying out the intention of Her Father and Grandfather, end that the reason why She had to take Action is that She is a Queen and not a King, and that, as far as bearing the name of Windsor is concerned, the proclamation of 1917 does not fit the case of Her descendants. My draft accordingly recites that The Queen has determined that Her descendants shall bear the name of Windsor, without specifying how soon after Her succession she took this course.

 

6.              The draft does not say expressly that The Queen herself is to bear the name of Windsor.  It is not clear that a Queen need have any surname herself.  It seems enough that She should be of the House and Family of Windsor and that Her descendants should bear the name of Windsor.

 

7.               The third recital omits the words "in the male line" which appear in the proclamation of 1917.  The reason is that Princess Anne is not descended from The Queen in the male line. Yet it seems right that until she marries she should bear the name of Windsor, in so far as she needs any surname at all; and so with any other daughters who may be born hereafter.  The omission of the words in the male line" makes it necessary to insert the words "and their descendants" after the words "other than female descendants who may marry".  Otherwise, the children of (say) Princess Anne would have been given the name of Windsor instead of their father's family name.

 

 

House of Lords, S.W. 1.

26th February, 1952.



Final paper submitted to the Cabinet on 26.2.52 C(52) 53

“Royal Family Name”

 

See Cabinet Papers.



Royal Proclamation

 

Sir Albert

 

At Cabinet this morning I was asked to consider with the Lord President, the Lord Privy Seal, and the Leader of the House whether the draft which I provided required any amendment. I have now heard from them and they think it is all right as it stands.

I understood that if we were satisfied it need not go back to Cabinet.  Check this with Brook.

 

S.



My dear Gavin

 

Thanks for your note. I didn’t want to trouble you – the thought merely struck me last night. I had no chance of mentioning it before Cabinet.

So far as I am concerned whatever you think right – do! & it has my blessing = what would be a cause for cursing would be a meeting of ministers. We have enough of them already !

 

V Hanyl (?)

 



Cabinet document

Reference: extract from Cabinet Conclusions (22nd)

Date: 27 Feb 1952

removed and destroyed.

For complete series see Cab (Cabinet Office) Classes

 

signed: JP Adams Date: 12-10-91


The Hon. Sir Albert Napier,  KDB,  KC, Lord Chancellor's Office

with Sir Norman Brook's compliments.

 

PRIME MINISTER

 

The Lord Chancellor (who is on the Woolsack) has asked me to report to you on his behalf that, as requested at this morning’s Cabinet, he has discussed with the Lord President, the Lord Privy Seal and the Minister of Health the point which was raised on the drafting of the Proclamation about the name of the Royal Family.  They are all now agreed that the draft in Annex I of C.(52) 53 should stand unaltered.

 

The next step is for you to submit it to the Queen.

 

(When the Queen has approved it, Sir Alan Lascelles will then notify the Queen’s decision to Governors-General in other Commonwealth countries.  And after allowing an interval of one or two days for the Governors-General to inform the Commonwealth Governments a Privy Council will be held for the purpose of making the Proclamation.)

 

27th February 1952.

 


newsclipping

 

THE ROYAL FAMILY'S SURNAME

By PATRICK MONTAGUE-SMITH, Assistant Editor of 'Debrett'

 

MANY people are asking whether the accession of Queen Elizabeth has made necessary any change in the name of our Royal House or in the surname of the Royal Family. There is no doubt that Queen Elizabeth is the fourth sovereign of the House of Windsor, for it has always been the custom to regard a Queen Regnant as belonging to her father's House. Her surname, however, allowing ordinary English custom, is Mountbatten, which she acquired on her marriage in 1947 to Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, then newly created Duke of Edinburgh, Hence Prince Charles, Duke of Cornwall, bears the surname of Mountbatten, and may one day be the first sovereign of that House to reign over us.

 

King George's Edict

 

No better choice, for a surname and House name could have been found than that of Windsor, which George V adopted by proclamation in 1917, for this Royal Castle has been the home of our sovereigns since William the Conqueror. Here many were born, and at Windsor all since George III have been laid to rest. Contrary to public belief, however, the reason for the change was not simply a wish to drop a German-sounding name for the Royal House in favour of an English one. A need had arisen to provide the Royal Family with a surname, for the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha did not possess one. King George had just issued an edict decreeing that membership of the Royal Family was not to extend beyond the reigning Sovereign's grandchildren. Great-grandchildren, therefore. would have been left in the awkward position of having no surname and possibly no title.

 

One effect of this edict is that if the younger children of the Duke of Gloucester or the late Duke of Kent have children, these latter will be known simply as Mr. or Miss Windsor. If the name of Windsor had not been introduced in 1917, they would have had no surname.

The earliest known male ancestor of the House of Windsor was Thierry of Buzici, a Thuringian noble living in 950, who founded a line of Counts of Wettin, a small town on the banks of the River Saale, in Saxony; but they did not acquire much importance until they inherited Saxon titles and land through the female line in the fifteenth century.

 

The Tudors

 

The only previous Royal Houses in our history who have possessed surnames were the Welsh Tudors, and the Bruces and Stewarts of Scotland. The name " Plantagenet," which arose from the sprig of flowering broom (Plante Genet)—the badge of Geoffrey. Count of Anjou, father of Henry II—did not come into use until it was adopted by his descendant, Richard Duke of York, the father of Edward IV. during the Wars of the Roses.

 

The Tudor dynasty took its name from Henry VII's great-grand father, Maredudd (Meredith) ap Tudor, son of Sir Tudor Vychan of Penmynydd, Anglesey. Surnames had not then come into use in Wales, sons being usually described as " ap " (son of) their father's Christian name.

 

Both the Bruces and the Stewarts had surnames before they succeeded to the Scottish Throne by marrying heiresses. The Stewarts acquired their name through their hereditary office of High Steward of Scotland; in the time of Mary, Queen of Scots, it became " Frenchified " to Stuart.

 

There has been much controversy as to whether the House of Hanover possessed a surname, and if so which. Although this is popularly believed to have been Guelph, a former Clarenceux King of Arms has dismissed this idea as absurd. The family's ancestors were lords of Este, the capital of a small feudal principality in Lombardy since the ninth century, but by marriage with the Bavarian heiress of the House of Guelph they removed from Italy to Germany. If, therefore, the House of Hanover can be said to possess a surname, it would be d'Este, by which name the children of Queen Victoria's uncle, the Duke of Sussex, by his secret marriage were in fact known.

 

Although the Duke of Edinburgh may be said to belong to the House of Mountbatten, as he has adopted that surname, this in reality was his mother's family. The Mountbattens (or Battenbergs, as they were formerly known) descended from the morganatic marriage of Alexander, son of the Grand Duke Louis II of Hesse, with the Countess Julie von Hanke in 1851.

 

Famous Dynasty

 

Genealogically, however, the Duke belongs to the Royal Danish House of Schleswig - Holstein -Sonderburg-Glucksburg, which has no surname, and is in turn a branch of the House of Oldenburg, a family which originated in Friesland. It is remarkable that not only do the Kings of Denmark, Norway and Greece belong to this dynasty, but so also did the last seven Tsars of Russia, who were Romanovs only by female descent.

 

Perhaps the most remarkable feature of our Royal House is the continuity of descent from each preceding dynasty, in spite of such momentous struggles for the Crown as Hastings, Bosworth, and the 1688 " Revolution." Thus the Queen and her husband descend from every House which has occupied our Throne: from Wessex, Godwin, Normandy, Blois and Anjou, to the Tudors, Stuarts and the Hanoverians —a record not paralleled in any other reigning family.



newsclipping

 

Is Windsor still the Royal name?

By VALENTINE HEYWOOD

 

IT is rather surprising that suggestions should have been published that Queen Elizabeth will be the last of the House of Windsor and that her successor on the Throne will be the first of the House of Mountbatten.

 

Attention should be paid to the obvious spirit, as well as the wording, of the Proclamation which, in 1917, King George V issued dealing with the names and styles, of the Royal Family. It declared categorically that the King had "determined that henceforth Our House and Family shall be styled and known as the House and Family of Windsor." (The italics are mine.) It is true that in a subsequent clause specific mention was made "that all the descendants in the male line of Our said Grandmother Queen Victoria . . . shall bear the said name of Windsor," but it would seem clearly to have been the King's intention that the dynasty should for ever remain the House of Windsor.

 

There was then probably no thought that in so short a time the succession would pass to a daughter. In any case there is more than one precedent for the name of a historic dynasty being retained even though succession has come through the female line. This was the case with the Houses of Habsburg, Romanov, and Orange, and there are, of course, numerous instances, in princely and noble families both here and abroad.

 

Moreover, any argument that the Queen's children are Windsor only on the distaff side is countered by the same factor in regard to Mountbatten. The Duke of Edinburgh is paternally a member of the ancient Danish-Greek Royal House of Sleswig-Holstein-Sonder-burg-Glucksburg. His mother is a Mountbatten, sister of Earl Mountbatten of Burma. He adopted the surname of Mountbatten when he renounced his princely rank and styles on becoming a naturalised British subject.

 

If it be held that with the Royal Family, as with others, children take the surname of their father, a new Proclamation by the Queen would presumably be necessary to give effect to her grandfather's wish that the name of the family and the dynasty should continue to be Windsor.

 

There was frequent argument in the past about the surname of the Royal House on the point of whether it was Guelph or Este in the case of the House of Hanover, or Wettin in the case of Queen Victoria's family in view of her marriage with Prince Albert. It seemed particularly appropriate that in apparently washing to decide once for all what should be the name of his dynasty, King George should have chosen that of the historic castle which has been its principal home for nearly a thousand years.

 

Scots seek legal ruling on "Elizabeth II"

 

The Scottish Covenant Association is to seek a legal ruling on whether the Queen's title in Scotland should be Elizabeth I or Elizabeth II. The Association's national committee, meeting in Glasgow yesterday, decided to raise an action of declarator in the Court of Session.

The chairman, Dr. John Mccormick, said that a legal committee had been appointed to draw up the Covenant's case as a matter of urgency. The action would be a purely legal argument, involving no witnesses. If successful, it would mean that oaths of allegiance taken in Scotland to Queen Elizabeth II would be void.

 


 

LORD CHANCELLOR TO PRIME MINISTER: MEMORANDUM OF 3RD MARCH, 1952

 

Royal Surname

 

1. I regret that this must be a long note, but it is a complicated matter,. My conclusions are summarised at the end and the documents referred to are annexed. The principal difficulty arises I think from the fact that before 1917 the Royal Family had no surname. Hereditary surnames, which were in origin either nick-names or patronymics or territorial names, only became common in this country and elsewhere in Europe round about the thirteenth century.

 

Royal Houses have continued the practice, previously obtaining amongst commoners as well as nobles, of styling themselves by territorial names which are not, in the proper sense, surnames. Thus, it is idle I think to speculate whether the surname of the children of Queen Victoria was Wettin or Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, because in fact they possessed no surname.

 

2. This is true of all the Houses to which Monarchs of this country and other countries in Europe have belonged: York, Lancaster, Orange, Hanover, Hapsburg, Wittelsbach, and so on, are not names belonging to persons but names of Houses, Only two of our Royal Houses have possessed surnames in the accented sense: Tudor and Stuart. It has never been suggested, however, so far as I know, that Mary Tudor's name was changed by her marriage; and if she had had any children they would have belonged to the House of Hapsburg as well as to the House of Tudor (the latter having by then risen to the dignity of a Royal House). The Earl of Darnley, the father of James I, was himself a Stuart and a cousin of Mary Queen of Scots, so that there was no question of any change there. Prince George of Denmark, the husband of Queen Anne, was of the House of Oldenburg, but no one supposes that their children bore the name of Oldenburg. In later times the Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex married outside the Royal Marriage Act. Their children were called respectively FitzGeorge and D'Este, but these names were adopted by them: they did not descend upon them automatically.

 

3. Everyone knows that the practice in this country in relation to the styles and titles, not only of the Sovereign and the Royal House, but also of the nobility, differs, and has differed from the earliest times, in many fundamental respects from Continental practice. Continental practice can provide no precedents, but there is nevertheless a close analogy in the Netherlands. Queen Wilhelmina married a Duke of Mecklenburg. The names and titles of Juliana before she ascended the Throne are given in the Almanach de Gotha as Juliana Louise Emma Marie Wilhelmina, Princess of the Netherlands, Princess of Orange-Nassau, Duchess of Mecklenburg, Princess of Lippe-Biesterfeld. She is not shown as possessing any surname, and the styles of her eldest daughter are given as Beatrix Wilhelmina Armgard, Princess of the Netherlands, Princess of Orange-Nassau, Princess of Lippe-Biesterfeld. There is thus no indication that the House of Orange—Nassau possesses a surname; and if it did it would not be Mecklenburg or Lippe-Biesterfeld. Similarly, the Prince Consort could not have conferred the name of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha or Wettin upon his progeny, nor (if he had not changed his name) could the Duke of Edinburgh have conferred upon his children the name of his House, Schleswig—Holstein-Sonderburg-Glucksburg.

 

4. The situation, as I see it, is this. Before 1917 the Royal Family had no surname; they belonged to the House of Guelf-D'Este, of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, and to several other Houses as well. There was no need for them to have a surname because they had titles. Then, on the 17th July 1917 the King issued a Proclamation declaring, first, that His House and Family should be styled and known as the House and Family of Windsor, and, second, that the. descendants of Queen Victoria (within certain limits) should bear the name of Windsor. This Proclamation was followed four months later by Letters Patent issued on the 30 November 1917 and providing that the title of "Royal Highness" with the dignity of Prince or Princess prefixed to their christian names (which makes a surname unnecessary) should be limited to the children and the children of sons of the Sovereign and to the eldest son of the eldest son of the prince of Wales. Thus the great-grandchildren of the Sovereign (other than the eldest son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales) would not have these titles and so would have to have a surname.

 

5.  These two documents, the Proclamation and the Letters Patent, must be read together; and reading them in this way, it is clear that the intention of the Sovereign was to do two things: (1) to declare that the name of His House and Family should be Windsor,  and (2) (quite a separate thing) to ensure that the orogeny of members of the House of Windsor who would in future, as a result of the Letters Patent,  be unable to style themselves "H. R.H. Prince X"  and would, therefore, have to have a surname,  should have the surname of Windsor.

 

6. In my view the Queen, though belonging to the House and Family of Windsor,  has never had a surname because from birth She has had a title. She is within the Letters Patent and She did not acquire a surname on Her marriage. Similarly Her two children, who art; also of the House and Family of Windsor, have from their birth had a title and have had no surname. In the period before the Queen came to the Throne this was not by reason of the Letters Patent of 1917 (for they were not children of a son of the Sovereign) but by reason of the Letters Patent of the 22nd October 191+8, which were issued before the birth of Prince Charles and extended the Letters Patent of 1917 to include the children of the marriage between Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh. The Letters Patent of 1948 would of course have been unnecessary if the children of the Queen had been children of a son of George VI and not of a daughter.

 

7. Thus in my view the question of a surname does not arise at all in relation to the children or children of sons of the Queen. For they have or will have the style and title of Prince or Princess and Royal Highness. On the other hand children of daughters,  being outside the Letters Patent,will not have such style and title and will take their father's name. This is what the children of the Princess Royal did. The need for a surname would only arise in relation to any of the Queen's great-grandchildren who, by reason of the Letters Patent of the 30 November 1917, were not entitled to the style of "Royal Highness" and the prefix of "Prince". It is in my view clear from the proclamation and Letters patent of 1917 that it was the intention of George V  that the surname of any of the descendants of a Sovereign should within certain limits'  be Windsor. The trouble about the Proclamation, so far as the surname is concerned, is that it provides that those who were to bear the surname of Windsor were "all the descendants in the male line of Queen Victoria .... other than female descendants who may marry or may have married". The Queen is a descendant in the male line from Queen Victoria but She is a female descendant who has married; and her children pre not descended from Queen Victoria in the male line: they are therefore not expressly covered by the terms of the Proclamation. This was in my view a slip due to the fact that George V did not contemplate his grand-daughter coming to the Throne,  and the object of issuing a fresh Proclamation is not to affect but to remove any doubts about the status and name of the Queen or Her children and grandchildren (which are made clear by the Proclamation and Letters Patent of 1917 as extended by the Letters Patent of 1948),  and to determine the name of some of Her great-grandchildren.

 

8. So much for the surname. Now for the name of the House and Family of Windsor. If, as I maintain,  T.R. H. Prince Charles and Princess Anne did not as children of the Duke of Edinburgh acquire any surname belonging to him, still less could his marriage to the Queen have had any effect in law upon that part of the Proclamation of George V which declared that His House and Family should thenceforward be styled and known as the House of Windsor. As Princess Elizabeth the Queen continued on her marriage to belong to the House of Windsor,  although, if the Duke of Edinburgh had not resigned his Greek and Danish titles,  She might have been said also to belong to the House and Family of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glucksburg. As Queen She is "the fountain and source of all dignities"  and She does not share this attribute with Her husband. In conformity with the accepted doctrine that marriage with a woman confers no honour or rank upon a man,  our Constitution has never attached any special rank or privileges to the husband of a Queen Regnant. In every way he ranks below her. Even in the special circumstances of the marriage of Philip II of Spain and Mary I of England when Philip had the peculiar title of King Consort and both he and Mary were jointly proclaimed Defenders of the Faith",  Parliament effectively secured that he had no powers.

 

 The Present Sovereign ascended the Throne as a member of the House and Family of Windsor and, although She has power to alter the name of the House by Proclamation, until such a Proclamation is made the Proclamation of George V remains effective. The situation would only be different if the House of Windsor had become extinct,  and a member of some other House had ascended the Throne.  Moreover Mountbatten is not the name of a Royal House: any pretensions to that status were extinguished by the Letters Patent of the 14th July 1917 by which Prince Louis of Battenberg (the father of Princess Andrew of Greece who is the mother of the Duke of Edinburgh) relinquished the title of Serene Highness and his other German titles and assumed the surname of Mountbatten. But even if the Duke of Edinburgh at the time of his marriage had belonged to a Royal House, it is inconceivable that his marriage could have had the effect in law of altering the style of the Royal Family as declared in the Proclamation of George V.

 

To sum up: there are two distinct questions:

A. The surname of the Royal Family, and

B. The name of the Royal House. A. Surname

 

1. Names of Houses are not the same as surnames, e.g. Battenberg was the name of a House: Mountbatten is a surname.

 

2. No one who has the style of "Royal Highness" and the prefix of "prince"  has a surname. The Proclamation of George V did not confer surnames upon persons entitled to this style.

 

3. Those who may style themselves "H. R. H. Prince X"  are, since 1917 those authorised to do so by the Letters Patent of the 30 November 1917 and the Letters Patent of the 22nd October 1948 .  They include the Queen while she was Princess Elizabeth and Her children and the children of her sons, who therefore have and will have no surname.

 

4.  This is a matter to be decided solely by English law and practice. Continental law and practice have no relevance.

 

5. The new Proclamation (apart from clarifying the position as stated above)  would be confined in its operation to some of the great-grandchildren of the Queen, in relation to whom it would merely be carrying out the manifest intention of George V and of George VI.

 

B. Name of the Royal House

 

1.  It was the manifest intention of George V to provide by His Proclamation of 1917 that so long as there was a member of His House and Family to ascend the Throne the name of the Royal House should be Windsor.

2.  The Queen is of the House and Family of Windsor and did not cease to be so on Her marriage.

3. The proposed new Proclamation so far as is necessary confirms and renews the Proclamation of George V.

 

SIMONDS

 

3RD MARCH, 1952.

 

ANNEX IV

 

DRAFT PROCLAMATION BY THE QUEEN A  PROCLAMATION

 

WHEREAS Our beloved Grandfather His late Majesty King George the Fifth did by Proclamation dated the seventeenth day of July nineteen hundred and seventeen declare His Royal Will and Authority that His House and Family should thenceforward be styled and known as the House and Family of Windsor and that all the descendants in the male line of Her late Majesty Queen Victoria who should he subjects of these Realms, other than female descendants who might marry or might have married, should "bear the name of Windsor;

 

AND WHEREAS it was the desire and intention of Their late Majesties King George the Fifth and King George the Sixth that the House and Family of any of Their descendants who should succeed Them whether as King or as Queen of these Realms should continue to he styled and known as the House and Family of Windsor;

 

AND WHEREAS We, being called by the Will of God to ascend the Throne of these Realms, have determined that, in accordance with the desire and intention of Their late Majesties of Blessed and Glorious Memory, Our House and Family shall continue to be styled and known as the House and Family of Windsor, and that all Our descendants who are subjects of these Realms, other than female descendants who may marry and their descendants, shall bear the name of Windsor;

 

AND WHEREAS We have declared this Our determination in Our Privy Council:

 

NOW THEREFORE We out of Our Royal Will and Authority Do hereby declare and announce that Our House and Family shall continue to be styled and known as the House and Family of Windsor, and that all Our descendants who are subjects of these Realms, other than female descendants who may marry and their descendants, shall bear the name of Windsor,

 

GIVEN at Our Court at Buckingham Palace this day of in the year

of Our Lord One thousand nine hundred and fifth-two in the First year of Our Reign

 

GOD SAVE THE QUEEN


 

CABINET DOCUMENT

 

REFERENCE Extract from CC(52) 36th conclusions

 

DATE .........3 April 1952....................

 

REMOVED AND DESTROYED.

 

FOR COMPLETE SERIES SEE CAB (CABINET OFFICE) CLASSES

 

SIGNED .J.P. Adams.... DATE ...17-10-91....

 


 

10, Downing Street

Whitehall.

 

Mr. Churchill, with his humble duty to The Queen, begs to advise that Your Majesty should be pleased to make a Declaration in Council, establishing the Name of the Royal House and Family, to the following effect:  "I hereby declare My Will and Pleasure that I and My children shall be styled and known as the House and Family of Windsor, and that My descendants, other than female descendants who marry and their descendants, shall bear the Name of Windsor."

 

(Sgd)  WINSTON S. CHURCHILL

  3rd April. 1952.

 


 

10, Downing Street, Whitehall.

 

3rd April, 1952.

 

I enclose herewith a copy of the Submission which the Prime Minister has sent to The Queen containing the text of Her Majesty's proposed Declaration in Council about the Name of the House and Family of Windsor.

 

In a covering letter Mr. Churchill said that he understands that this Declaration will be made at a Council to be held on Wednesday, April 9, at 12.30 p.m.  May I assume that you will take all the necessary steps to this end and will arrange for subsequent publication of the Declaration in the Gazette.

 

I am sending a copy of this letter and the enclosure to Rankin.

 

(Sgd)  J.R. COLVILLE

 

 

F.J. Fernau, Esq., T.D.


 

DRAFT CABINET PAPER SECRET

 

 THE NAME OF "WINDSOR"

 

On the 27th February the Cabinet considered the draft of a Proclamation concerning the name of the Royal House and of the Queen's descendants, and invited me la consultation with certain of my colleagues to examine the drafting of the Proclamation and to report our conclusions to the Prime Minister,  This we did, but, as it subsequently appeared that the same object could be achieved more simply by means of a Declaration in Council than by a Proclamation, I prepared a draft Declaration in consultation with the Lord Privy Seal, the Home Secretary and the Minister of Health.  The draft as amended by Her Majesty is annexed (Annex I).  A notice would, if Her Majesty approves, be published in the Gazette after the meeting of the Privy Council at which Her Majesty is pleased to make it.

 

I take this opportunity of placing on record, after consultation with my colleagues, the reasons which have led us to the conclusion that such a Declaration should be made as will ensure that the name of the Royal House and Family is not changed, and that the surname of Windsor is borne by Her Majesty's descendants.

 

1. There are two distinct questions involved: the first is as to the name of the Royal House: the second is as to the surname which certain of the descendants of the Queen shall bear.  These questions are of constitutional importance and it is the duty of Her Majesty's Ministers to form an opinion upon them and advise Her Majesty accordingly.

 

2. In the consideration of these problems the Proclamation made by King George V on the 17th July 1917 (Annex II) and  the Letters Patent issued by Him on the 30th November 1917 (Annex III) are of decisive importance, and I doubt whether any useful guidance can be obtained from precedent or analogy in this or any European country.

 

3. The Proclamation of 1917 declared first that the King's House and Family should be styled and known as the House and Family of Windsor, and second (a quite separate thing) that the descendants of Queen Victoria "who are subjects of these Realms, other than female descendants who may marry or may have married" should "bear the surname of Windsor.  The proclamation also renounced on behalf of the King and his descendants and all other descendants of queen Victoria, who were "subjects of these Realms", all German titles.

 

The Letters Patent of the 30th November 1917 (which amended Letters Patent issued by Queen Victoria on the 30th January 1864) provided that the title of Royal Highness with the dignity of Prince or Princess prefixed to their christian names should be borne by the children and the children of sons of any Sovereign and by the eldest son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales, but should not (except as therein mentioned) be borne by any other descendant of any Sovereign.

 

4.  The action of King George V in renouncing the German titles of His family and la limiting the number of persons entitled to the style of Royal Highness was widely acclaimed at that time when we were at war with Germany.  Later, when the passions of war had subsided, it was also generally regarded as having been an act of wise statesmanship which had confirmed and increased the prestige of the monarchy.

 

5. The Proclamation of the 17th July 1917 and the Letters Patent of the 30th November 1917 must be read together to determine their effect upon the two questions at issue, the surname of the Queen's descendants and the name of the Royal House.

 

(a) Persons entitled to the style of Royal Highness and the prefix of Prince before their Christian names do not possess surnames. Hereditary surnames, which were in origin usually nicknames or patronymics, only became common in this country and elsewhere in Europe about the 13th. century. Royal Families, continuing the ancient practice of styling themselves by territorial names, did not acquire surnames. Thus neither "Wettin" nor "Saxe-Coburg-Gotha" was the surname of the children of Queen Victoria, These were not surnames, and they, having titles, possessed no surname.  So also, in an earlier generation, when the Dukes of Cambridge and Sussex married outside the Royal Marriage Act, it became necessary to invent the surnames of FitzGeorge and D'Este for their progeny.  It may be said that members of two of our Royal Houses possessed surnames, and it is true that the Tudor and Stuart dynasties are known by those names, which were the surnames of their founders; but, as I have already said, such precedents can be of little value today.

(b) The Letters Patent of 1917 in limiting the number of persons who may be entitled to the style of "H.R.H. Prince X" (for whom, as I have said, a surname is unnecessary) made it essential to provide a surname for those of the Royal Family who is the future, by reason of the Letters Patent, would not be entitled to that style.  Accordingly the Proclamation of 1917 provided that that surname should be Windsor.

(c) Thus Her Majesty the Queen, being within the Letters Patent of 1917, has never had a surname because from birth.  She has had a title.

(d) But, though Her Majesty, being within the Letters Patent of 1917, did not need a surname, the position of Her children was different. As soon as Her Majesty came to the Throne, Her children would come within the same Letters Patent as "children of any Sovereign of these Realms"; but, if they should be born before She came to the Throne, they would not come within it.  Accordingly on the 22nd October 1948, shortly after Her marriage to the Duke of Edinburgh, King George VI issued letters Patent (Annex IV) by which He declared that the children of that marriage should enjoy the style of Royal Highness and the titular dignity of Prince or Princess prefixed to their Christian names in addition to any other titles of honour which might belong to them thereafter.  Thus from their birth Prince Charles and princess Anne came within these Letters Patent and neither had nor needed any surname.  And, as I have pointed out, as soon as Her Majesty come to the Throne, they came within the Letters Patent of 1917 as will any other children of the marriage.  The Letters Patent of 1948 served a temporary purpose and will have no further operation.

(e) It follows from what I have said

(i) that the Question of a surname does not arise in relation to the children or children of sons of the Queen or to the eldest son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales, for they have, or will have, the style and title of Prince or Princess and Royal Highness:

(ii) that the children of daughters of the Queen, being outside the Letters Patent, will not have such style and title and will take their father's name, as did the children of the Princess Royal; and

(iii) that the sons of grandsons of the Queen (other than the eldest son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales) will not be within the Proclamation or the Letters Patent of 1917 and, if they have a surname at all, will have the surname of Mountbatten.

(f) I do not think that it can be questioned that it was the intention of King George V and was within the spirit and purpose of His proclamation that the descendants of a Sovereign of these Realms should within certain limits bear the name of Windsor; but (perhaps because he did not contemplate His granddaughter coming to the Throne) the Proclamation did not give full effect to His intention.  The result will be that, unless Her Majesty makes the appropriate Proclamation or Declaration, Her great-grandchildren who need surnames will not bear the name of Windsor but that of Mountbatten.

Name of the Royal House

(a) The Proclamation of 1917 must be read and interpreted in the light of conditions prevailing in the twentieth century in this country.  It may well have been the practice in the past that the name of a Royal House was changed if an heiress married a member of another Royal House, although sometimes the names of the Houses were combined in much the same way as their coats-of-arms.  These matters of high policy have no relevance to the consideration of the present problems.

(b) It cannot be doubted that by His Proclamation of 1917 King George V intended that, so long as there was a member of His House to ascend the Throne, the name of the House should be Windsor.  It is true that he did not expressly provide that that should be so if a female descendant of His came to the Throne; but on the other hand He did not provide to the contrary.  Female descendants who may marry are not excluded in this part of the Proclamation as they are in the later part which deals with the surname.

Nor can it be questioned what was the wish of King George VI.  It may be assumed that He expected to be succeeded by a daughter, but it is certain that it was His wish that the name of the Royal House should in that event continue to be Windsor.  When he conferred a dukedom upon H.R.H. the Duke of Edinburgh he did not intend that the name of Edinburgh should supersede that of Windsor as the name of the Royal House.

The Queen ascended the Throne as a member of the House of Windsor.  It has not been suggested that She ceases to be of that House on Her marriage.  Doubts have been expressed about the position of Her children and these should be removed.

(c) Permanence and continuity are valuable factors in the maintenance or a constitutional monarchy and the name of the Royal House should not be changed if change can be avoided.  It was probably considerations such as these that led, in the Netherlands, to the continuance by Royal Decree of the name of Orange-Nassau as the name of the Dutch Royal House, although the succession has in recent times passed twice la the female line.

(d) Above all it is certain that, in confirming what was clearly the intention of Her father and grandfather, Her Majesty the Queen would be acting in accordance with the sentiments and desires of all Her peoples.  Nothing could shake their loyalty and devotion to the Queen and this is personal to Her Majesty; but behind it lies their grateful memory of Her father and grandfather who immeasurably strengthened the institution of monarchy and have given to the name of Windsor a significance that should not be lost.

SIMONDS

Lord Chancellor's Office,

House of Lords,

4th April 1952.

Sent to Sir Norman Brook on 5th April 1952.


 

DRAFT CABINET PAPER SECRET

 

THE NAME OF "WINDSOR"

 

On the 27th February the Cabinet considered the draft of a Proclamation concerning the name of the Royal House and of the Queen's descendants, and invited me in consultation

with certain of my colleagues to examine the drafting of the Proclamation and to report our conclusions to the Prime Minister.  This we did, but, as it subsequently appeared that the same object could be achieved more simply by means of a Declaration in Council than by a Proclamation, I prepared a draft Declaration in consultation with the Lord Privy Seal, the Home Secretary and the Minister of Health. The draft as amended by Her Majesty is annexed (Annex I).  A notice would, if Her Majesty approves, be published in the Gazette after the meeting of the Privy Council at which Her Majesty is pleased to make it.

 

I take this opportunity of placing on record, after consultation with my colleagues, the reasons which have led us to the conclusion that such a Declaration should be made as will ensure that the name of the Royal House and Family is not changed, and that the surname of Windsor is borne by Her Majesty's descendants.

 

1.  There are two distinct questions involved: the first is as to the name of the Royal House; the second is as to the surname which certain of the descendants of the Queen shall bear.  These questions are of constitutional importance and it is the duty of Her Majesty's Ministers to form an opinion upon them and advise Her Majesty accordingly.  

 

2.  in the consideration of these problems the Proclamation made by King George V on the 17th July 1919 (Annex II) and the Letters Patent issued by Him on the 30th November 1917 (Annex III) are of decisive importance, and I doubt whether any useful guidance can be obtained from precedent or analogy in this or any European country.

 

3.  The Proclamation of 1917 declared first that the King's House and Family should be styled and known as the House and Family of Windsor, and second (a quite separate thing) that the descendants of Queen Victoria "who are subjects of these Realms, other than female descendants who may marry or may have married" should bear the surname of Windsor.  The Proclamation also renounced on behalf of the King and his descendants and all other descendants of Queen Victoria, who were "subjects of these Realms", all German titles.

 

The Letters Patent of the 30th November 1917 (which amended Letters Patent issued by Queen Victoria on the 30th January 1864) provided that the title of Royal Highness with the dignity of Prince or Princess prefixed to their christian names should be borne by the children and the children of sons of any Sovereign and by the eldest son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales, but should not (except as therein mentioned) by borne by any other descendant of any Sovereign.

 

4.  The action of King George V in renouncing the German titles of His family and in limiting the number of persons entitled to the style of Royal Highness was widely acclaimed at that time when we were at war with Germany.  Later, when the passions of war had subsided, it was also generally regarded as having been an act of wise statesmanship which had confirmed and increased the prestige of the monarchy.

 

5.  The Proclamation of the 17th July 1917 and the Letters Patent of the 30th November 1917 must be read together to determine their effect upon the two questions at issue, the surname of the Queen's descendants and the name of the Royal House.

 

The Surname

 

(a)  Persons entitled to the style of Royal Highness and the prefix of Prince before their Christian names do not possess surnames.  Hereditary surnames, which were in origin usually nicknames or patronymics, only became common in this country and elsewhere in Europe about the 13th century, Royal Families, continuing the ancient practice of styling themselves by territorial names, did not acquire surnames. Thus neither "Wettin" nor "Saxe-Coburg-Gotha" was the surname of the children of Queen Victoria.  These were not surnames, and they, having titles, possessed no surname.  So also, in an earlier generation, when the Dukes of Cambridge and Sussex married outside the Royal Marriage Act, it became necessary to invent the surnames of FitzGeorge and D'Este for their progeny.  It may be said that members of two of our Royal Houses possessed surnames, and it is true that the Tudor and Stuart dynasties are known by those names, which were the surnames of their founders; but, as I have already said, such precedents can be of little value today.

 

(b)  The Letters Patent of 1917 in limiting the number of persons who may be entitled to the style of "H.R.H. Prince X" (for whom, as I have said, a surname is unnecessary) made it essential to provide a surname for those of the Royal Family who in the future, by reason of the Letters Patent, would not be entitled to that style.  Accordingly the Proclamation of 1917 provided that that surname should be Windsor.

 

(c) Thus Her Majesty the Queen, being within the Letters Patent of 1917, has never had a surname because from birth She has had a title.

 

(d)  But, though Her Majesty, being within the Letters Patent of 1917, did not need a surname, the position of Her Children was different.  As soon as Her Majesty came to the Throne, Her children would come within the same Letters Patent as "children of any Sovereign of these Realms"; but, if they should be born before She came to the Throne, they would not come within it.  Accordingly on the 22nd October 1948, shortly after Her marriage to the Duke of Edinburgh, King George VI issued Letters Patent (Annex IV) by which He declared that the children of that marriage should enjoy the style of Royal Highness and the titular dignity of Prince or Princess prefixed to their Christian names in addition to any other titles of honour which might belong to them thereafter.  Thus from their birth Prince Charles and Princess Anne came within these Letters Patent and neither had nor needed any surname.  And, as I have pointed out, as soon as Her Majesty came to the Throne, they came within the Letters Patent of 1917 as will any other children of the marriage.  The Letters Patent of 1948 served a temporary purpose and will have no further operation.

 

(e)  It follows from what I have said

(i) that the question of a surname does not arise in relation to the children or children of sons of the Queen or to the eldest son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales, for they have, or will have the style and title of Prince or Princess and Royal Highness:

(ii) that the children of daughters of the Queen, being outside the Letters Patent, will not have such style and title and will take their father's name, as did the children of the Princess Royal; and

(iii) that the sons of grandsons of the Queen (other than the eldest son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales) will not be within the Proclamation or the Letters Patent of 1917 and, if they have a surname at all, will have the surname of Mountbatten.

 

(f) I do not think that it can be questioned that it was the intention of King George V and was within the spirit and purpose of His Proclamation that the descendants of a Sovereign of these Realms should within certain limits hear the name of Windsor; but (perhaps because He did not contemplate His granddaughter coming to the Throne) the Proclamation did not give full effect to His intention.  The result will be that, unless Her Majesty makes the appropriate Proclamation or Declaration, Her great-grandchildren who need surnames will not bear the name of Windsor but that of Mountbatten.

 

Name of the Royal House

 

(a)  The Proclamation of 1917 must be read and interpreted in the light of conditions prevailing in the twentieth century in this country.  It may well have been the practice in the past that the name of a Royal House was changed if an heiress married a member of another Royal House, although sometimes the names of the Houses were combined in much the same way as their coats-of-arms.  These matters of high policy have no relevance to the consideration of the present problems,

 

(b) It cannot be doubted that by His Proclamation of 1917 King George V intended that, so long as there was a member of His House to ascend the Throne, the name of the House should be Windsor.  It is true that he did not expressly provide that that should be so if a female descendant of His came to the Throne; but on the other band He did not provide to the contrary.  Female descendants who may marry are not excluded in this part of the Proclamation as they are in the later part which deals with the surname.

 

Nor can it be questioned what was the wish of King George VI.  It may be assumed that He expected to be succeeded by a daughter, but it is certain that it was His wish that the name of the Royal House should in that event continue to be Windsor.  When he conferred a dukedom upon H.R.H. the Duke of Edinburgh he did not intend that the name of Edinburgh should supersede that of Windsor as the name of the Royal House.   

 

The Queen ascended the Throne as a member of the House of Windsor.  It has not been suggested that She ceases to be of that House on Her marriage.  Doubts have been expressed about the position of Her children and these should be removed.

 

(c) Permanence and continuity are valuable factors in the maintenance of a constitutional monarchy and the name of the Royal House should not be changed if change can be avoided.  It was probably considerations such as these that led, in the Netherlands, to the continuance by Royal Decree of the name of Orange-Nassau as the name of the Dutch Royal House, although the succession has in recent times passed twice in the female line.

 

(d) Above all it is certain that, in confirming what was clearly the intention of Her father and grandfather. Her Majesty the Queen would be acting in accordance with the sentiments and desires of all Her peoples.  Nothing could shake their loyalty and devotion to the Queen and this is personal to Her Majesty; but behind it lies their grateful memory of Her father and grandfather who immeasurably strengthened the institution or monarchy and have given to the name of Windsor a significance that should not be lost.

 

SIMONDS

 

 

Lord Chancellor's Office, House of Lords.

S.W.1

4th April 1952

 

 

ANNEX I

 

DRAFT DECLARATION AS AMENDED BY THE QUEEN

 

My Lords,

 

I hereby declare My Will and Pleasure that I and My children shall be styled and known as the House and Family of Windsor, and that My descendants, other than female descendants who marry and their descendants, shall bear the name of Windsor.

 

 


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