Here's How The Queen Settled The Argument Which Royal House Name She Should Reign

Life of the future prince consort

Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, was born HRH Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark on June 10, 1921 at Mon Repos, the Greek royal family's summer residence located in the island of Corfu, Greece. 

Born a royal prince, Philip's early years, however, were marked with a series of family tragedies and political strife in Greece that he lived from country to country since 18 months old. 

In 1923, Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark (Prince Philip's father), escaped death through the help of his cousin, King George V of the United Kingdom, and the family went to live in England for a while then settled in France near Paris.

In 1931, Prince Philip's mother, Princess Alice, was institutionalized in Switzerland and his father lived in Southern France with his rich mistress. By 1932, marriage eventually fell apart. Philip's four older sisters had married German princes. 

Left without no one to take care of him, Prince Philip was taken to England to live permanently with his maternal grandmother, Princess Victoria (Marchioness of Milford-Haven) at Kensington Palace. For the next 10 years, he would shuffle home, from Kensington Palace to Lynden Manor in Berkshire, the home of his uncle, George Mountbatten, and from palaces in Germany to Romanian castle visiting his cousin, Princess Helen.

His maternal uncle, George Mountbatten, 2nd Marquess of Milford-Haven, was appointed as his foster father in England. George's wife, Nadejda, was also Prince Philip's paternal relative. Countess Nadejda de Torby, was the daughter of Grand Duke Michael Mikhaelovich of Russia with his morganatic marriage to Countess Sophie von Merenberg. Michael was a cousin of Prince Philip's grandmother, Queen Olga.

The Princely House of Battenberg

The House of Battenberg in Germany was a morganatic branch of the House of Hesse-Darmstadt, ruler of the Grand Duchy of Hesse. 

It was created in 1851 when Prince Alexander of Hesse and by Rhine, brother of Empress Marie Alexandrovna (wife of Emperor Alexander II of Russia) married one of her ladies-in-waiting, Countess Julia von Hauke.

Julia was not born a princess, thus, considered her marriage to Prince Alexander  as unequal, therefore cannot take her husband's status. Alexander's brother, Grand Duke Louis III of Hesse (uncle-in-law of Princess Alice of the United Kingdom), created Julia, Princess of Battenberg with Her Serene Highness style.

All their children must take their status from the Battenberg house and not from Hesse. Alexander and Julia had five children: Princess Marie, Prince Louis (founder of House of Mountbatten), Prince Alexander of Bulgaria, Prince Henry (husband of Princess Beatrice of the United Kingdom), and Prince Francis Joseph. 

Creation of the House of Mountbatten

In July 1917, King George V changed the British royal house name from Saxe-Coburg and Gotha to Windsor, due to bitter anti-German sentiments of his subjects during World War I. 

He advised all his German royal relatives living in England to relinquish their princely titles and anglicized their German names. 

He also made them British nobles, thus, Prince Philip's maternal grandfather, Prince Louis of  Battenberg, became Louis Mountbatten (the anglicized version of Battenberg), and granted the title, Marquess of Milford-Haven.

Prince Louis of Battenberg, grandfather of Prince Philip. Admiral of the Fleet and the First Sealord of Britain at the outbreak of World War I. He was a nephew of Empress Marie of Russia (wife of Alexander II), and paternal uncle of Queen Eugenie of Spain

Officially, the noble House of Mountbatten was created on July 17, 1917 upon Prince Louis of Battenberg's relinquishing of his German princely title and becoming Marquess of Milford-Haven.

Prince Louis of Battenberg was the son of Prince Alexander of Hesse and by Rhine with his morganatic marriage to Countess Julia von Hauke who was created Princess of Battenberg. Because it was an unequal marriage, all their children carried the status of their mother.

Prince Louis of Battenberg's Coat-of-Arms as 1st Marquess of Milford-Haven
For detailed story about this Arms, Check Royal Heraldry

Other members of the House of Mountbatten in England was Prince Louis' nephews and niece: Alexander Mountbatten, 1st Marquess of Carisbrooke, Queen Eugenie of Spain, Lord Leopold Mountbatten. They were children of Prince Louis's younger brother, Prince Henry of Battenberg who died in 1896.

Prince Henry was the husband of Queen Victoria's youngest daughter, Princess Beatrice. Their only daughter, Princess Victoria Eugenie, married King Alfonso XIII of Spain. They were the grandparents of King Juan Carlos.

Prince Philip Adopted Mountbatten

In February 1947, in preparation for his marriage to the future British monarch, Philip gave up his Greek royal status to become a British subject. 

As a royal prince, he did not carry a surname, but upon relinquishing his royal title, he knew he needed one, thus adopted his maternal grandfather's surname, Mountbatten. He also switched his religion from Greek Orthodox to Anglican.

Years later, Prince Philip would say, he was not enthusiastic in changing his status and name. It was the idea of his uncle Dickie (Lord Mountbatten) to adopt the name Mountbatten.

Lord Mountbatten believed it was best for his nephew to become thoroughly English to avoid the backlash and criticism marrying the future British monarch. 

It was barely two years after the end of World War II and Britain was still reeling in disgust towards Germany, Germans and everything Germanic. 

Prince Philip, although a Danish and Greek prince and fought for Britain during the war, has German blood and all his sisters married German princes who supported the Nazi regime, British continued to view him as a German spy, thus a change was viewed as necessary. 

On November 20, 1947, Philip married Princess Elizabeth at Westminster Abbey. The night before the wedding, King George VI created him Duke of Edinburgh, Earl Merioneth and Baron Greenwich.

Coat-of-Arms of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Mixing his royal Danish, Greek and British heritage  and the Mountbatten, with a Greek flag on the quarter of his shield. Source: Royal Heraldry

Prince Consort

As a royal prince himself, the Duke of Edinburgh understood pretty well what is meant of "performing royal duty". Marrying into the British royal family, he knew he must gave up part of his freedom and full time career to live a life of a working royal.

In 1952, things all came up at once when his father-in-law, King George VI, died in his sleep, and Elizabeth ascended the throne.

Prince Philip knew he had to give up his decorated naval career to become a full-time prince consort. And he did not look back since then.

He also understood that as a spouse of the British sovereign, he needed to be at her side all the time and must take a backseat to allow his wife to shine.

The Queen made her husband Prince of the United Kingdom in 1957 and was put ahead of Prince Charles in the Order of Precedence and among all men in the realms except on state occasions where the heir-to-the-throne must be next to the monarch in the order line.

Arguments on the royal house name

Upon the Queen's accession in 1952, there was an intense public discussion which royal house name she would reign and be known for.

The discussion was raised after Lord Mountbatten was heard saying the new British royal house would be named "Mountbatten".

As a female sovereign, many had anticipated Her Majesty would take her husband's name. After all, Queen Victoria, reigned under her husband's German house name, Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

The British royal family had long been associated with the House of Windsor since 1917 when the Queen's grandfather, King George V, changed the royal house from the Germanic ducal name, Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

In 1837, when Queen Victoria inherited the British throne from her uncle, King William IV, she was prohibited from reigning under the royal house of Hanover because the state of Hanover maintained a Salic law, barring women from taking the crown.

Queen Victoria decided to take her husband's name, Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a ducal house in Germany where her mother, Princess Victoria, Duchess of Kent, also belonged. The British royal family, and most of European royals, directly descended from this royal house name.

From 1947 to 1952, Elizabeth bore the title, Duchess of Edinburgh. She was not granted the title, Princess Royal despite being an eldest daughter of a British monarch, because her aunt, Princess Mary, who bore the title, was still alive at that time.

Following the accession of Queen Elizabeth II on the throne, Lord Mountbatten was heard telling friends that the future British royal family would be known as House of Mountbatten.

The discussion reached the ears of Queen Mary, the widow of King George V. She went to her granddaughter, the Queen, and reminded her that George V already established in 1917 the House of Windsor and expected all succeeding British monarchs would reign under the name.

The Queen said nothing, until Queen Mary died in 1953. The discussion of house name change was raised again in 1959 when Lord Mountbatten proposed the new name of Mountbatten.

It was contradicted by Prince Philip, suggesting that if ever there is a change, it is appropriate to use his ducal house name, the House of Edinburgh, which did not set well with the royal courtiers because it is the capital city of Scotland.

Members of the parliament opposed to the change, and so with the Queen's mother who reminded her daughter to stick with the House of Windsor.

The Queen, who was pregnant at that time with Prince Andrew, was forced to declare it officially in 1960 to settle the debate and speculations. 

She stated that she will continue to reign under the House of Windsor, which was established by her grandfather, George V, in 1917. And her children would be known as Family of Windsor.

Windsor - a name that symbolizes the mysticism and gallantry of the British monarchy, a reminder of its glorious past. It is thoroughly English, and the namesake of England's national symbol - the Windsor Castle.

The declaration of the Queen prompted Prince Philip to quip, "I am just a bloody amoeba", noting that he is the only man in the country who could not give his surname to his children. But by then, the Duke of Edinburgh understood that his children did not belong to his house but to the institution.

The Queen, Prince Philip and their four children (behind is Peter Phillups) in 1979, Balmoral summer holiday

Always a supportive wife, the Queen understood the Duke's sentiment, so she resolved the argument by declaring that all their descendants who would not bear the title and dignity of prince and princess, would use the surname, Mountbatten-Windsor, honoring her husband's status by placing his surname before hers. 

She also added that, under any circumstances, if their offspring, including the princes and princesses, needed to use a family name, they shall take the name Mountbatten-Windsor.

This was agreed by the parliament and the British royal household, even though Prince Philip descended from the royal house of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg-Beck in the male-line, and not really a patrilineal descendant of the House of Mountbatten.

Prince Philip is only a Mountbatten in papers. By bloodline, he belonged (and his male-line descendants) to the royal House of Glucksburg. 

The Queen and Prince Philip rarely had friction that made known in public, however the heated argument on the family name somehow, affected them privately, but was quickly resolved by them.

Prince Philip was aware it was not the time to highlight his manly ego but must conform what is best for the monarchy and his wife's reign. He relented. 

Who used the name Mountbatten-Windsor? 

The Mountbatten-Windsor name first appeared in a public document in 1973 during the wedding of Princess Anne to Captain Mark Phillips, when she used it as her surname in the marriage certificate. Her three brothers also used the surname in their respective marriages. 

Diana, Princess of Wales, during a lawsuit involving her in 1995, also used it in court papers. Her son, Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, also used the surname in 2012 when he filed a libel case in the French court over the topless photos of Kate captured by paparazzi during their private holiday in France.

However, the most prominent members of the royal family who carried the surnames are the children of Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex, and Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex. 

The Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor

Lady Louise and Lord James are not titled princess and prince respectively despite being grandchildren of the reigning monarch in the male line, a decision made by Edward and Sophie, and agreed by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, in 1999. 

Thus, the siblings carried the surname, Mountbatten-Windsor.

Prince Harry's two children, Archie and Lili, cannot take the title prince and princess while Prince Charles is not yet king. It is because Harry, unlike William, is not a direct heir.

Archie, as an eldest son, has the right to use Earl Dumbarton (secondary title of Prince Harry) or Lord Dumbarton as the heir-apparent of the Duke of Sussex, and Lili is legally Lady Lili Mountbatten-Windsor, however the Duke and Duchess of Sussex decided that their children must be addressed and known by their first names without the aristocratic style.

Archie and Lili are officially using the coined surname, Mountbatten-Windsor. In fact the first members of the Queen's direct family to be known with the surname publicly. Lady Louise is being addressed publicly as The Lady Louise Windsor (without Mountbatten).

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