What is the surname of the Royal Family?

It’s a question we often wonder about; a piece of trivia we all feel we should know: what is the Royal Family’s last name?

If you don’t know, rest assured you are not alone – and many of those who claim to have the correct answer have it wrong. In fact, there are several contradictory answers, none of them entirely correct.

The closest we have to an official answer is this: they don’t have one.

Queen Elizabeth II’s full name is Elizabeth Alexandra Mary. Her heir is Charles Philip Arthur George. They have no surname – nor, officially speaking, has any ruling British monarch. When hereditary second names were introduced in the 13th-14th century, it was not considered necessary for royalty to have to identify themselves.

However, there have been plenty of names that come close. Let’s begin with the strangest:

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Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha
Until quite recently, this was perhaps the closest the Royal Family had to a surname, owing to a male line that traced back to Germany. This changed with World War I, when King George V decided to publicly renounce the family ancestry in favour of something more staunchly English.

Titles considered included “Tudor-Stuart” and even “England”. The family ultimately settled on something a little more subtle: the name of their castle, Windsor.

This is most commonly thought to be the Queen’s last name. While this is technically only the name of the family house, rather than the family itself, it now functions in the same way a last name would. The Royal Family could, if they wished, comfortably call themselves “The Windsors”.

This is Prince Philip’s family name, which he has not officially held since becoming a prince. However, he still used it on official records while in military service.

Non-royal descendents of Elizabeth II and Prince Philip usually use this as their last name. Many in the royal line will also chose this when required to give a last name.

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Whatever they choose
Since nothing is truly official, Royal Family members still have creative freedom when asked for a surname. Harry, Prince of Wales, served in the military as “Harry Wales”. Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, similarly chose “Edward Wessex” in his non-royal dealings.

Most famously, the Queen chooses to sign her documents as “Elizabeth R.” for Regina, the Latin word for “Queen”.

Only one thing is certain: by the time Prince George gets his driver’s license, he’ll have plenty of options.


Which of these names do you think is most fitting? Is there a better name you would choose to give them?