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Mountbatten-Windsor is the personal surname of some of the descendants of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh under an Order in Council issued in 1960, which has not been applied consistently. While the Order specifically applies the surname "Mountbatten-Windsor" to those descendants of the Queen not holding Royal styles and titles, "Mountbatten-Windsor" has been formally used by some descendents of Queen Elizabeth II who do hold Royal styles. For example, both Prince Andrew, Duke of York and Anne, the Princess Royal, children of the Queen, used the surname "Mountbatten-Windsor" in official marriage registry entries. Likewise, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge used the name when filing a French lawsuit related to the topless pictures of Catherine published by the French magazine, Closer.
Mountbatten-Windsor differs from the official name of the British Royal Family or Royal House, which remains Windsor. The adoption of the Mountbatten-Windsor surname applies only to members of the Royal Family who are descended from the Queen, and not, for example, to her cousins, or descendants of her sister, Princess Margaret.
History of the Mountbatten and Windsor surnames
The Mountbatten surname derives from the German town of Battenberg, in Hesse. Prince Louis of Battenberg changed his surname to Mountbatten (its literal English translation) during the First World War at the request of King George V. When then-Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, a member of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg (the royal house of Denmark and Norway and the deposed royal house of Greece) took British citizenship, he used this surname since he descends from the Battenberg family through his mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg.
Users of the surname
The following people make use of, in current practice, or have made use of, the surname Mountbatten-Windsor. They are listed in the order of succession to the Crown.
- Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and his second wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall
- Prince Andrew, Duke of York
- Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex and his wife, Sophie, Countess of Wessex
- Princess Anne, Princess Royal (until her marriage with Mark Phillips in 1973 [divorced 1992] when she assumed his surname; her surname has subsequently changed again on the occasion of her marriage with Timothy Laurence in 1992)
- Diana, Princess of Wales the first wife of Prince Charles, Prince of Wales used the surname until her death.
- Sarah, Duchess of York the former wife of Prince Andrew, Duke of York
None of the above actually officially hold the surname as part of their legal name, owing to the styles that are used for members of the Royal Family, and to the ambiguous wording[clarification needed] of the proclamation. For example, when the Duke of York was in the Navy, he was referred to as Lieutenant His Royal Highness, The Prince Andrew before he became The Duke of York, and Lieutenant His Royal Highness, The Duke of York afterwards - but not Lieutenant Mountbatten-Windsor. While Mountbatten-Windsor was entered into the marriage register for Prince Andrew and Princess Anne, the Prince of Wales was entered as simply "The Prince Charles Philip Arthur George".
It has been reported in the American press that as a practical day-to-day matter in their active Royal Navy service, both Charles and Andrew were referred to as "Lieutenant Windsor".
Both Princes William and Harry have used "Wales" as a last name during their schooling. Both were known as Officer Cadet Wales at the Sandhurst Military Academy. They wrote the name "Wales" on their socks and underwear for laundering. Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie of York both similarly use "York" as a last name.
The Earl of Wessex has styled himself "Edward Wessex" for his television series Crown and Country since acquiring that title upon his marriage. Prior thereto, the show's credits listed him as "Edward Windsor."
All the above persons, as holders of Royal styles and titles (see above), use Mountbatten-Windsor unofficially. Seemingly, the only people who would officially hold the hyphenated surname under the Order in Council would be any male-line great-grandchildren of the Queen in cadet branches; i.e., the children of any sons of the Duke of York and Earl of Wessex (currently only Lord Severn). Similarly, in the event that any male-line granddaughter of the Queen were to have a child whilst unwed, such a child might have the surname of Mountbatten-Windsor.
- "The Royal Family name". The British Monarchy. Retrieved 2011-05-05.
- McCartney, Stewart (2012). Popular Errors Explained. New York: Random House. ISBN 1409021890.
- Gripper, Ann (2012-09-18). "Kate Middleton Closer topless pictures - reaction as royals start court fight". Mirror. Retrieved 2012-09-21.