February 8: Windsors Versus Mountbattens


Written by Matthew Mendez, Historian

February 8, 1960 CE. British queen, Elizabeth II, declares her descendants would from then on be considered not just “Windsors” but, “Mountbatten-Windsors.” In order to distinguish the direct descendants of the throne from other branches of Windsor royals, Elizabeth II and her husband, Philip, decided to combine their surnames. Furthermore, necessity for an official surname for events such as marriages or lawsuits compelled the royal pair to decide between Mountbatten and Windsor, ultimately combining the two in an act of compromise. Prior to the compromise in surname though, Philip was an ardent supporter of his descendents assuming his surname instead of the queen’s, as the children of a family taking the mother’s name was almost unheard of in Britain at the time. Ultimately, the compromise led the Windsor and Mountbatten families to a mutually favorable result.