The Mountbatten Name
Following the death in 1952 of King George VI (1895(1936-1952) in 1952, Mountbatten in his usual 'tour de force' began to openly brag that the ruling House was no longer Windsor but that of Mountbatten. Apparently Mountbatten’s views were reported back to the aged Queen Mary (1867-1953), whose husband King George V (1865(1910-1936) had founded the House of Windsor in 1917. Perhaps his ambitious aims of greatness was just pride, but some saw it power crazed - either way, it forced Queen Elizabeth II (1926(1952- ) to seek advice from The Rt Hon. Sir Winston Spencer-Churchill (1874-1965), the then Prime Minister who had returned to office following the General Election in October 1951. In one of her first official announcements of the new Reign, the new Queen declared on 9th April 1952 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”. Mountbatten’s hopes that the reigning Royal House would bear his own family name had been thwarted.
On 8th February 1960, The Queen so declared - “whereas on the 9th day of April 1952, I did declare in Council 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. And whereas I have given further consideration to the position of those of My descendants who will enjoy neither the style, title or attribute of Royal Highness, nor the titular dignity of Prince and for whom therefore a surname will be necessary. And whereas I have concluded that the Declaration made by Me on the 9th day of April 1952, should be varied in its application to such persons. Now therefore I declare My Will and Pleasure that, while I and My Children shall continue to be styled and known as the House and Family of Windsor, My descendants other than descendants enjoying the style, title or attribute of Royal Highness and the titular dignity of Prince or Princess and female descendants who marry and their descendants shall bear the name of Mountbatten-Windsor."
TOP: Captain Mark Phillips
with Princess Anne following their wedding in 1973
ABOVE: An extract from the marriage certificate of
Captain Mark Phillips to Princess Anne (now The Princess Royal) giving her surname as "Mountbatten-Windsor"
for the first time on a legal document
The Duke & Duchess of Sussex with their son - Archie
The Queen’s declaration in 1960 was made days prior to the birth of her third child (and second son) Prince Andrew, The Duke of York (b.1960) and despite making it clear that “My children shall continue to be styled and known as the House and Family of Windsor” when Princess Anne, The Princess Royal (b.1950) married in 1973 to Captain Mark Phillips (b.1948) the surname of Mountbatten-Windsor appeared for the first time as the Princess’ surname on the marriage certificate. Prince Andrew, The Duke of York (b.1960) and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex (b.1964) also used the surname on their marriage certificates at their respective weddings in 1986 and 1999. However, their eldest brother - Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales (b.1948) has never used this surname at either of his weddings in 1981 and 2005. It should be noted that Princes of the Blood Royal, with the style of Royal Highness do not officially use a surname so it has only been in modern times that the use of a surname has arisen.
The Wessex Family (left to right) -
Lady Louise Windsor, The Countess of Wessex,
Prince Edward, The Earl of Wessex & Viscount Severn
In 2003, following the birth of a daughter to Prince Edward, The Earl of Wessex (b.1964) & Sophie, The Countess of Wessex (b.1965) it was announced that his children would not use the title of a Prince/Princess or have the style of Royal Highness as they were entitled to under the Letters Patent of 1917. The child was subsequently named 'Louise Alice Elizabeth Mary Mountbatten-Windsor' but it was announced would be styled The Lady Louise Windsor. Their second child was born in 2007 and named 'James Alexander Philip Theo Mountbatten-Windsor' and uses the courtesy title of Viscount Severn. In May 2019, following the birth of a son to Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex (b.1984) & Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex (b.1981) it was announced that the child would be named ‘Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor’.
Currently (as of April 2021) the children of The Earl & Countess of Wessex and The Duke & Duchess of Sussex are the only descendants of Prince Philip, 1st Duke of Edinburgh (1921-2021) and Queen Elizabeth II (1926(1952- ) who officially have the surname of Mountbatten-Windsor. It should be noted that under the terms of the Letters Patent by King George V (1865(1910-1936) on 17th November 1917, upon Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales (b.1948) succeeding to the Throne, Archie Mountbatten-Windsor (as a male-line grandson of the Sovereign) would be elevated to the rank of a Prince of the United Kingdom with the style of Royal Highness and officially no longer use any surname. However, it may be the case that The Sussexes might follow the precedent of The Wessexes with their own children and chose to decline the use of such titles for their children. We will have to await what decisions will be made!