Two more postcards sent by my mother from London. They both show the Royal Family, of the House of Windsor.
The House of Windsor is the royal house of the Commonwealth realms. It was founded by King George V by royal proclamation on the 17 July 1917, when he changed the name of his family from the German Saxe-Coburg and Gotha to the English Windsor, due to the anti-German sentiment in the United Kingdom during World War I. Currently, the most prominent member of the House of Windsor is Queen Elizabeth II [for more information about her check out this post], the reigning monarch of the Commonwealth realms.
Edward VII, and, in turn, his son, George V were members of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a German ducal family, by virtue of their descent from Albert, Prince Consort, husband of Queen Victoria. High anti-German sentiment amongst the people of the British Empire during World War I reached a peak in March 1917, when the Gotha G.IV, a heavy aircraft capable of crossing the English Channel began bombing London directly. The aircraft became a household name, and the name Gotha was part of the name of the royal family, Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. These bombings were coupled with the abdication of King George's first cousin, Nicholas II, the Tsar of Russia on 15 March 1917, which raised the spectre of the eventual abolition of all the monarchies in Europe. The King and his family were finally convinced to abandon all titles held under the German Crown, and to change German titles and house names to anglicised versions. Hence, on 17 July 1917, a royal proclamation issued by George V declared:
Now, therefore, We, out of Our Royal Will and Authority, do hereby declare and announce that as from the date of this Our Royal Proclamation Our House and Family shall be styled and known as the House and Family of Windsor, and that all the descendants in the male line of Our said Grandmother Queen Victoria who are subjects of these Realms, other than female descendants who may marry or may have married, shall bear the said Name of Windsor....
Upon hearing that his cousin had changed the name of the British royal house to Windsor, German Emperor Wilhelm II remarked jokingly that he planned to see Shakespeare's play The Merry Wives of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.
The name had a long association with British royalty, through the town of Windsor, Berkshire and Windsor Castle, a link reflected in the Round Tower of Windsor Castle being the basis of the badge of the House of Windsor.
Also in 1917 Prince Louis of Battenberg adopted the surname Mountbatten, a partial translation into English. Prince Louis is the maternal grandfather of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. From 1917 to 1919, George V also stripped 15 of his German relations - most of whom belonged to the House of Hanover - of their British titles and styles of prince and princess.
When Princess Elizabeth (as she then was) married Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, the standard practice would be to adopt the name of his royal house. Because he was a prince, Prince Philip did not have a surname but he was of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, a branch of the House of Oldenburg, and that ruled or rules as Kings of Greece, Denmark and Norway. Not wishing to repeat the difficulties of three decades previous, before his marriage Prince Philip renounced his titles and adopted the surname Mountbatten, the literal translation of the German Battenberg that his maternal grandfather had adopted in 1917. The Mountbatten/Battenberg name refers to Battenberg, a small town in Hesse.
On 9 April 1952, Queen Elizabeth II officially declared 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." On 8 February 1960, the Queen confirmed that she and her children would continue to be known as the House and Family of Windsor, as would any agnatic descendants who enjoy the style of Royal Highness, and the title of Prince or Princess. Still, Elizabeth also decreed that her agnatic descendants who do not have that style and title would bear the surname Mountbatten-Windsor.
Any future monarch can change the dynastic name through a similar royal proclamation, as royal proclamations do not have statutory authority.
The 1917 proclamation stated that the name of the Royal House and all British descendants of Victoria and Albert in the male line were to bear the name of Windsor, except for women who married into other families.
By early 1919 the living male-line British descendants of Victoria subject to British rule were King George V, his five sons, his daughter Princess Mary, his unmarried sister Princess Victoria, his uncle Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, his cousin Prince Arthur of Connaught, his cousin once removed Prince Alastair of Connaught, and his unmarried cousin Princess Patricia of Connaught. Prince Alastair and Princess Victoria died unmarried and childless. Princess Mary married into the Lascelles family, and Princess Patricia married Alexander Ramsay of Mar. Neither of the Prince Arthurs had any further children, meaning all subsequent members of the House of Windsor descend from the sons of George V.
Two of George V's sons, Edward VIII (later Duke of Windsor) and Prince John, had no children, so the entire present day members of the House of Windsor are descendants of the other three sons, Prince Albert, Duke of York (later George VI), Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, and Prince George, Duke of Kent.[wikipedia]