Royal styles and titles: Files from the UK National Archives
introduction to the files cast of characters styles and titles of the British royal family

HO 290/72

 

Public Record Office

 

pages from this subfile have been replaced by dummies.

Reason(s) for deletion :

personal sensitivity

 

The original documents have been closed under section 5(1) of the Public Record Act 1958.  They will be available for inspection in blank.

(Signed) Miss S. E. Clarke

 

(Date) blank

 


 

Top Secret

 

File begins 18 May 1960

 

RYL 315/1/35

 

The Royal Name

Adoption of the surname Mountbatten-Windsor

 

Declassified as per letter from Ms. J. A. Jeffrey (A Division): 23/8/1989

 

Minutes

 

This file contains the papers relating to the adoption of the surname Mountbatten Windsor for use by such of Her Majesty’s descendants as would need to use a surname and a short minute recording the various steps leading to the declaration which the Queen made at a meeting of the Privy Council on 8th February 1960

 

AS 17/5

 

Doc 24 is a handwritten letter from The Queen to the then Home Secretary, RA Butler

 



The Times. 3d December 1959

 

FAMILY NAME OF ROYAL BABY

BISHOP  OF  CARLISLE'S SUGGESTION

 

The Bishop of Carlisle, Dr. Bloomer, speaking yesterday on " Family life " at a service in Holme Eden church, near Carlisle, referred to the widespread joy at the prospect of the birth of another child in the Royal Family.

 

He said that every child had a family name at birth, and that every Christian child was given a name or names at baptism, but that this royal baby would be in the unusual position of being born not with the father's family name but with the mother's family name. He did not like to think of any child born in wedlock being deprived of the father's family name—a right and privilege which every other legitimate child in the land possesses.

 

He said that the Royal Family set a noble example of family life, and he would like to think that, if it be her Majesty's will and pleasure, such changes as were necessary would  be made to secure this birthright for the royal baby.    " We in this country are accustomed to have respect for titles, but a family name transcends these and stirs deeper and more powerful emotions in the family circle," he said.

 


 

Ephraim Hardcastle

 

Would the Queen change her name?

 

I HEAR a most remarkable story about Earl Mountbatten. It is that the earl, who is now Chief of the Defence Staff, has not yet got  over his personal disappointment that the Queen did not retain the family name of Mountbatten for more than a few weeks after her accession to the Throne.

 

I am told that he has raised with the Queen and Prince Philip the possibility of changing the royal name from Windsor back to Mountbatten, preferably before the birth of the Queen's third baby.

 

Earl Mountbatten, as is well known, has tremendous pride in his family name. Much of that pride must be shared by Prince Philip, who spent long periods or his youth under the earl's guidance and influence.

 

In his book, "The Mountbatten Lineage", which he published for private circulation among family and friends last year, the earl wrote with great pride of the two months' reign of the House of Mountbatten. This was from February 6 to April 9, 1952, when the Queen reigned under her married name.

 

The earl added regretfully that on April 9 "on the formal, and insistent advice of the

Prime Minister (then Mr. Winston Churchill), she changed her name and that of her children, but not that of her husband, to Windsor. ."

 

The suggestion to reconsider the question does not,  I understand, appeal to the Queen.

In any case, a matter of such far-reaching significance could not be decided by the Queen and Prince Philip alone. The advice of the Prime Minister, Mr. Macmillan, and other senior statesmen and counsellors in this country and the Empire would have to be sought.

No move has been made by the Queen to seek such advice.

 

I have no doubt that if the Queen did ask Mr. Macmillan, who is an exceptional judge of public feeling, she would be told that to name the Royal House Mountbatten would be unthinkable.



 

the GUARDIAN    MONDAY  DECEMBER 14th  1959

 

A royal surname

 

The remarks of the Bishop of Carlisle about the Royal Family's surname seem to have been accorded the kind of stony reception given to a courageous traveller who lets down the window in a stuffy railway carriage. Yet his plea that the children of the Queen should not be denied all the associations of their father's family was sensible, and in keeping with the reputation of one widely recognised in the North as a warder of the best traditions of home life. When Prince Philip first came among us, we were told that he belonged to one of the very old ruling families in Europe—the Royal House of Denmark—that had no surname. In fact, the name is Schleswig - Holstein - Sonderbourg -Glucksbourg. The next act in the courtly farce was to make the Prince take his mother's name and become a naturalised British subject. No official, it seems, troubled to discover that Prince Philip was already a British subject by birth, being descended over and over again from the Electress Sophia (Charles I's niece), whose descendants were given British nationality by Act of Parliament. By birth Prince Philip was also a Prince of Denmark as well as of Greece—his grandfather, the King of Greece, being a younger son of King Christian IX. This family has married many times with the Stuart, Hanoverian, and present reigning dynasty of Great Britain. When, a century ago, the heir to the British throne married an enchanting bride from this family we did not try to pretend that she was someone else.

 

For Saxon or Dane or Norman we

Teuton or Celt or whatever we be

We are each all Dane in our welcome of thee

Alexandra

 

Queen Victoria's children were princes and princesses of Great Britain through their mother and of Saxony through their father.  Would it not be a graceful (though belated) attribute to truth and an acknowledgment of the long ties between the British and Danish  people if the children of this royal alliance were henceforth  known as princes and Princesses   of   Great   Britain   and Denmark?   We are all Europeans now.

 



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THE GUARDIAN LEADER:  A ROYAL SURNAME

 

This article is based on confusion between house names and family names.  When hereditary surnames became common in Europe in the 12th and 13th centuries the old Royal Families, continuing the ancient practice of styling themselves by territorial designations, did not take surnames.

 

With one exception Princes and Princesses of the United Kingdom who are Royal Highnesses do not have surnames.  The exception is the Duke of Edinburgh who was naturalised as Philip Mountbatten:  subsequently he was in 1947 knighted, created His Royal Highness, and then Duke of Edinburgh; in 1957 he was granted the style and titular dignity of a Prince of the United Kingdom.

 

He applied for naturalisation as Philip Prince of Greece, giving his full name in his country of origin as His Royal Highness Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark.'

When naturalisation was first mooted in 1945/6 the King was willing to agree that the applicant might retain the title "His Royal Highness Prince Philip", dropping the territorial designations of Greece and of Denmark" on naturalisation, but the applicant, who originally wished to take as his surname the name 'Oldburgh' eventually decided to take the name of 'Mountbatten' and preferred to be known simply as 'Philip Mountbatten', in which name he was naturalised in 1947.

 

At the time of his application he submitted a certificate by King George of Greece agreeing that he should "be allowed to accept British nationality to enable him to continue to serve in His Britannic Majesty's Navy" and that he should "renounce his right of succeeding to the Throne of Greece".   The Duke of Edinburgh also signed a statement agreeing, if granted British nationality, to renounce his right to succeed to that Throne.

He was not asked formally to renounce the title of "Prince of Greece and Denmark" in view of his renunciation of his right to the Greek Throne.   But on naturalisation he ceased to be "His Royal Highness Prince Philip" because as a British subject he could only have used his foreign title with a Royal Licence; such Licences are no longer issued.  The Royal consent to his marriage to The Queen in 1947 refers to him as "Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, R.N." while giving his parents their Princely titles and the prefixes H.R.H. and H.S.H. respectively.

 

The choice of his name on naturalisation was his own;  had he had a surname he would not then have needed to take his mother's name, and although he was born a Prince of Greece and of Denmark -as a member of the Royal House of those two countries - he is now a Prince of the United Kingdom.

 

As to the point that nobody troubled to discover that he was already a British subject by birth, the answer is that at that time it was not the practice to treat the reference in the Act of Queen Anne as applying to all living descendants of Princess Sophia, nor was it the practice then for all such descendants to claim to be British.  The Duke certainly did not; in his application he gave his nationality as Greek.  By virtue of the House of Lords' decision in the Prince of Hanover's case in 1957 the Duke of Edinburgh was at birth a British subject and his naturalisation was superfluous.

 

To suggest that The Queen's children should be styled Princes and Princesses of the United Kingdom and Denmark, when none of them has any claim to the succession to the Throne in Denmark, and their father's Princely dignity is of the United Kingdom, is a suggestion which one would never have thought of reading in the "Guardian", of all papers.   Such a title could not in any case be used without the agreement of the King of Denmark and would be as ridiculous as was the use by the Kings of England of the title of King of France which was exemplified in the Royal Arms until they were changed in 1800, when the French quartering was dropped.                                                         

 

AS

13/12

 


 

AT THE COURT AT CLARENCE HOUSE

 

The 9th day of April, 1952

Present,

THE QUEEN'S MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY IN COUNCIL

Her Majesty was this day pleased to make the following Declaration: -"My Lords,

I hereby declare 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".

P.J. FERNAU.

 


 

THE LONDON GAZETTE. FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 1864

Whitehall, February 3, 1864                                                        

The Queen has been pleased by letters patent under the Great Seal, to declare Her Royal will and pleasure that besides the children of the Sovereigns of these Realms, the children of the Sons of any Sovereign of Great Britain and Ireland, shall have, and at all times hold and enjoy, the style, title, or attribute or "Royal Highness," with their titular dignity of Prince or Princess prefixed to their respective christian names, or with their other titles of honour; and further to declare Her will and pleasure that the Earl Marshal of England, or his Deputy for the time being, do cause the said letters patent to be recorded in Her Majesty's College of Arms to the end that the Officers of Arms, and all others may take due notice thereof.



 

LETTERS PATENT OF 1948                                                      


GEORGE THE SIXTH by the Grace of God of Great Britain Ireland and the British Dominions beyond the Seas King Defender of the Faith To all to whom these Presents shall come Greeting Whereas His late Majesty King George the Fifth by His Letters Patent dated the thirtieth day of November in the eighth year of His Reign did declare His Royal Pleasure that certain members of the Royal Family therein more particularly mentioned should have the style title or attribute of Royal Highness And Whereas We are desirous of defining and fixing the style and title by which the children of the marriage solemnized between Our Most dearly beloved Daughter Her Royal Highness Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Duchess of Edinburgh and His Royal Highness Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh shall be designated And Whereas for that purpose We deem it expedient that the aforesaid Letters Patent should be amended and extended in manner hereinafter declared Now Know Ye that in the exercise of Our Royal and undoubted prerogative and of Our especial grace We do hereby declare Our Royal Will and Pleasure that the children of the aforesaid marriage shall have and at all times hold and enjoy the style title or attribute of Royal Highness and the titular dignity of Prince or Princess prefixed to their respective Christian names in addition to any other appellations and titles of honour which may belong to them hereafter And We do further declare Our Will and Pleasure that Our Earl Marshal of England or his Deputy for the time being do cause these Our Letters or the Enrolment thereof to be recorded in Our College of Arms to the end that Our Officers of Arms and all others may take due notice thereof In Witness Whereof We have caused these Our Letters to be made Patent Witness Ourself at Westminster the twenty-second day of October in the twelfth year of Our Reign.                                                         

 

                      BY WARRANT UNDER THE KING'S SIGN MANUAL

NAPIER

 


 

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COPY (of manuscript note)

 

HOUSE OF LORDS,

S.W.1.

 

The adoption of the surname of Mountbatten-Windsor

 

1. The necessary procedure

 

A. Advice from the Cabinet

(a)  Cypher telegram to P.M. and reply (As the P.M. is not due back until the 15th February, the margin of time is insufficient to await his return);

(b)  Then inform R.A.B. as deputy P.M.

(c)  Question to be considered by Cabinet and advice tendered.

 

B.  Inform Commonwealth through Sir Michael Adeane.

 

C.  Declaration at Privy Council in form approved by Cabinet, making clear that the declaration does not affect the name of the Royal House and Family but only surname of descendants.

 

2. Reasons for the change

 

A.  If the baby is a boy, his grandchildren will require a surname while those of the Prince of Wales will not.

 

B.  This (A) is under the letters patent of George V which might be restricted in the future say to children of the Sovereign.

 

C.  It is right that the name of his (the boy's) descendants should include the name of his father.

 

D.  This applies especially in view of the services of Prince Philip to Britain and the Commonwealth.

 

E.  The amendment suggested would, during H.M. The Queen's lifetime and until a future Sovereign made a change, retain Windsor as the name of the House and Family. H.M. would remain a Sovereign of the House of Windsor.

 

F. As Prince Philip renounced his membership of the Greek and Danish Royal Houses, the old conception of a junction of Houses does not apply, and it is fitting that there

should be substituted a united surname.

 

3. Arguments to the contrary

 

A.    Higherto - except  in the cases of Stuart,  Tudor and Bernadotte where commoners gained a throne - it has not been the practice of Royal or Reigning Houses to use a surname.    The best legal view - on which Sir Winston Churchill acted - is that so long as the style of "HRH Prince or Princess"  is carried, no surname  is used or indeed exists. What was considered of importance was the name of the House which was territorial.   

 

On this view:

(a)    H.M. the Queen had no surname before marriage.

(b)    Her children,  owing to the letters patent of George VI of 1948,  also had no surname.    By the letters patent  of George V the  same applies to H.M.' s future children.

 

B.    Unless, therefore, the use of "H.R.H. Prince or Princess" is restricted in the future,  the use of a surname by descendants of H.M. the Queen cannot arise for over 40 years.

 

C.     Some might think that it was the probable intention of George V,  adhered to by George VI that,  so long as the throne is occupied by a lineal descendant of theirs (male or female) the family name as well as the name of the House should he Windsor.

D.    Others will say that  it  is "the Mountbatten influence" at work undermining the settlement of the surname as a first step to changing the name of the Royal House. It must be faced that there is still opposition to and unpopularity for such an idea.

 

E.    More serious people will feel that permanence and continuity are valuable  factors in the maintenance of a constitutional monarchy and that changes should be made as seldom as possible.

 

Submitted with humble duty

(Signed) KILMUIR.     C.

21.1.60.

 



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7, Ashley Gardens,

Westminster, S.W.l.

 

11th February, I960

 

Sir,

Surely, for the Queen to change the surname of the Royal family is a public, and not a private matter? Would it not be in keeping with the position and responsibility of Monarchy to have the question debated in the House, to give an opportunity for public opinion to be gauged?

 

There is, I believe, strong antagonism throughout the country to Lord Louis Mountbatten, to the Battenberg family, and no desire to strengthen family ties with Germany.  Is not the English name of Windsor good enough.

 

People should be given a chance to express their views, and the change of name should not be rushed through, behind the scenes, at a time carefully calculated to make criticism appear unsympathetic to the Queen's condition.

 

As one of the electorate who is - in a sense-no longer represented in Parliament I am not sure whether I am correct, Mr. Speaker, in writing to you as my Member?

 

                                    Yours faithfully,                                     

(Sgd.) C. M. KENDALL

 

The Rt. Hon.   Sir  Harry Hylton-Foster,

House of Commons.

 



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THE  ROYAL  NAME

Hereditary surnames became common in the 12/l3th centuries. The old Royal families, however, continued the ancient practice of styling themselves by territorial designations and did not  take surnames.  The only exceptions in Great Britain were the Tudors and the Stuarts.

 

In 1917 King George V

by Proclamation declared that

(1) his house and family should be the House and Family of Windsor:

(2) the descendants of Queen Victoria who were British subjects, other than females who were married or should marry, should have the surname of 'Windsor' and

(3) renounced for himself and his descendants (and all Queen Victoria's descendants who were British subjects) all German titles.

 

by Letters Patent provided that

the style of Royal Highness and Prince or Princess should be borne by the children of                                       

(l) the Sovereign

(2) the sons of any Sovereign

(3) the eldest son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales.

 

In virtue of these Letters Patent any children born to Princess Elizabeth after her marriage with the Duke of Edinburgh would have been, in the case of daughters or younger sons 'Lady or 'Lord........Mountbatten';  the eldest son would have been known by one of his father's subordinate titles.  But King George VI by Letters Patent of 22nd October, 1948, provided that such children should be H.R.H. and Prince or Princess.   Thus on birth the children were H.R.H. Prince Charles and H.R.H. Princess Anne and had no surnames.   The next baby will, under the Letters Patent of 1917 and 1948 be H.R.H. Prince or Princess.

 

Before 1917 the Royal Family had no surname:  the need for one only arose because in consequence of King George V's Letters Patent of 30th November, 1917, not all legitimate descendants of the Sovereign would, as hitherto, be Royal Highnesses and Princes or Princesses.

 

The only member of the Royal Family who is 'H.R.H. Prince' and has a surname is the Duke of Edinburgh:  that is because he was naturalised as Philip Mountbatten - subsequently in 1947 he was Knighted, created H.R.H. and later Duke of Edinburgh. He was granted the style of Prince of the United Kingdom in 1957.

 

In 1952 consideration was given to the name of the dynasty which the Cabinet thought should remain 'Windsor'.  The Duke of Edinburgh objected;  but after long and careful consideration the Cabinet adhered to their opinion and the Prime Minister formally advised The Queen accordingly.  He explained to the Duke of Edinburgh, when replying to his memorandum on the subject, why Ministers had arrived at their decision and made it plain that this issue was not a family matter but one of constitutional importance on which it was the duty of Ministers to form an opinion and tender advice to The Queen.

 

On 9th April, 1952, The Queen in Council

"declared Her Will and Pleasure that She and Her children shall be styled and known as the House and Family of Windsor, and that Her descendants, other than female descendants, and their descendants, shall bear the name of Windsor".

 

CONCLUSION

 

1.   To make a change now would be contrary to the decision of King George V, to the known wishes of King George VI and to The Queen's Declaration of 1952.

 

2.  A change in the Royal Name could not be made except on Ministerial advice - (the continuance of the name of 'Windsor' in 1952 was the subject of advice from United Kingdom Ministers) - and after consultation with all the Commonwealth countries.  The Statute of Westminster only refers to "any alteration in the law touching  … the Royal Style and Titles" but consultation on a proposal to alter the name of the dynasty would be essential even though an Act of Parliament is not necessary to authorise such a change.  The Queen is nominatim Queen of each of the Commonwealth countries which is not a republic. It would, of course, be open to any Commonwealth Government to tender advice to The Queen if it was against any change.

 

3. Such consultations would take time and a decision on such an important matter, which may well evoke strong public reactions, should not be taken lightly. Consideration would have to be given to the form of any announcement. As a change would be involved it should, as in 1917, be made formally by Proclamation: not, as in 1952, when a Declaration in Council announced the continuation of the name of 'Windsor'.

 

AS

26/1

 



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CONFIDENTIAL

 

Procedure in connection with The Queen's wishes

 

1.  Procedure with the Cabinet

Present plan is to have a Cabinet on Tuesday, February 2 to put to the Cabinet The Queen's wishes. This will mean that according to the Private Secretary at Buckingham Palace the Commonwealth is informed on Thursday or Friday, the 4th or 5th February. The Council is then held on February 8. Thereafter either Letters Patent are issued or a Proclamation.

 

The danger of this procedure is that the Submission from the Cabinet of the advice of Ministers precedes by some days the ultimate proclamation. But I do not see that it is possible to avoid this lapse of time.

 

This is the first matter for consideration.

 

2.  Procedure in respect of consultation with the Commonwealth

 

I have discussed this matter with Sir Michael Adeane. He feels that it is essential to follow the precedent of Sir Alan Lascelles in 1952, namely that the Commonwealth is informed by The Queen's Private Secretary of The Queen's decision. This means there is no consultation with Commonwealth Governments as such; that is, Commonwealth Ministers do not tender advice. This is a matter which should be referred to the Commonwealth Secretary for final advice. According to the precedent of Sir Alan Lascelles in 1952 there was no departure in general, although there may have been in particular, from that of George V in 1917. It would therefore seem easier to inform the

Governor General rather than consult the Governments. An examination of Sir Michael Adeane's file revealed that there had been only one reply from a Governor General, namely from Canada, at that date. This shows that it was easier at that time to make a formal approach to the Commonwealth. Sir Michael Adeane feels that from this it appears that Commonwealth Governments do not like to be consulted in too detailed a manner. For example, catholic questions in Canada conflict with consideration of problems of this kind. It would therefore seem appropriate, if the Commonwealth Secretary agrees, that information should be conveyed to the Commonwealth Governments on the said precedent of Sir Alan Lascelles in 1952. This is one of the several questions to be decided.

 

3.  We now come to the technical procedure.

 

It is important that the Palace should not be muddled by a variety of advice. The risk can be dealt with quite simply by establishing close contact between the Home Office and the Lord Chancellor's Office. The procedure involved, namely whether the Privy Council is sufficient without a proclamation and such questions, can be decided by these advisers.

I do not think that any detailed consultation will be necessary with The Queen's Private Secretary. The Palace feels that this is a matter for the Government's advice and therefore

the Government's advice may well be co-ordinated in such matters as do not involve the Commonwealth by the Home Office and the Lord Chancellor's Office.

 

4.  So much for procedure.

 

There remains some slight danger of confusion about the exact effect of the ultimate proclamation, declaration or Letters Patent, whichever it may be. It is clear that the name of the House of Windsor is to remain and that all that is involved here is the question of surname which applies only to certain descendants a long time ahead.

 

27th January. 1960.

 


 

Whereas [by my declaration made in Council] on the 9th day of April,  1952, I did declare 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 hear the name of Windsors

I now declare my will and pleasure that my descendants, other than descendants enjoying the style, title or attribute of Royal Highness, and female descendants who marry and their descendants, shall bear the name of Mountbatten-Windsor.

 


(6)

 

Top Secret

 

1.      If the proposal is the limited one that those descendants of The Queen who have to use a surname should use the surname Mountbatten-Windsor, the simplest way of giving effect to it would seem to be for The Queen to make,  as She did in 1952,  a declaration in Council on the lines of the attached draft.    Suitable publicity could be given to the terms of the declaration, which would in fact have no practical effect until The Queen has great-grandchildren other than the eldest son of a Prince of Wales.

 

2.      The proposal should no doubt be submitted to the Cabinet,  as it is one on which it is open to Ministers to tender advice and for which, therefore, they must accept responsibility,

 

3.       If United Kingdom Ministers decide to tender no advice, it may be sufficient to inform the independent Commonwealth countries,  other than republics, that The Queen proposes to take this step and that United Kingdom Ministers have not felt it necessary to tender any advice.

 

CCC

 

27th January. 1960

 

Discussed at meeting attended by S of S, the L.C., Lord Home, Sir G. Coldstream, Sir A. Strutt, Mr Critchley and I.  It was agreed to draft a paper or aide memoire for next Tuesday’s Cabinet: and to consult the A.G. about the draft declaration.  Drafts have now been sent to Sir G. Coldstream.

CCC

 


 

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DRAFT

 

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 of 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, while remaining in other respects of full effect and validity, should be varied in its application to such persons:

 

Now therefore I declare My Will and Pleasure that 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 Mount batten-Windsor.

 



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TOP  SECRET                                                                                                

 

DRAFT CABINET  PAPER

 

THE  NAME OF THE  ROYAL  FAMILY

 

On the 17th July, 1917, King George V issued a Proclamation, and on the 30th November, 1917, Letters Patent dealing respectively with the name of the Royal House and Family and the use of the style of Royal Highness and titular dignity of Prince and Princess,  The Proclamation provided that as from its date the Royal House and Family should be styled and known as the House and Family of Windsor and that all the descendants in the male line of Queen Victoria, other than female descendants who marry, should bear the name of Windsor. The Letters Patent limited the right to the use of the style Royal Highness and titular dignity of Prince or Princess to the children of any Sovereign and the children of the sons of any Sovereign, and to the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales;  and provided that the grandchildren of the sons of any Sovereign in the direct male line, except the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales, should have the style and titles enjoyed by the children of Dukes,

 

2.   The view hitherto taken is that those members of the Royal Family entitled at birth to the use of the style Royal Highness and title of Prince or Princess do not have a surname;  I am advised that this view is correct.

 

3.   Under the Letters Patent of 1917 the children of Princess Elizabeth would not have been styled H.R.H. and Prince or Princess.  King George VI, by Letters Patent of 22nd October, 1948, conferred upon the children of her marriage with the Duke of Edinburgh the style of Royal Highness and titular dignity of Prince.  These Letters Patent were purely temporary and ceased to have effect on The Queen's Accession.

 

4.  In 1952, the Cabinet considered a suggestion that the name of the Royal House and Family should be altered. They decided, however, to advise The Queen that She should make clear Her intention to continue the use of the style 'House and Family of Windsor'.   The Queen accordingly made a Declaration in Council on the 9th April, 1952, in the following terms:-

"I hereby declare 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."

 

5.  The practical effect of the Proclamation and Letters Patent of 1917 and of the Declaration of 1952 is that those members of the Royal Family who are not entitled to the style of Royal Highness and the titular dignity of Prince or Princess, and who are not female members who have married, would be known either by any title of honour which they may enjoy, or by the surname Windsor.  That surname would not be required to be used by The Queen's descendants until the birth of grandchildren in the male line of the Prince of Wales (other than his eldest living grandson) or,  if the next Royal baby is a son, until the birth of his grandchildren in the male line.

 

6.   The Queen has now indicated it to be Her Wish that those of Her descendants who have to use a surname in this way should use the surname Mount batten-Winds or. Her Majesty has no desire to alter the name of the Royal House and Family of Windsor.  She does, however, wish the next child if a son, to be in the position, from birth, to transmit to his remoter descendants who will need a surname the name Mountbatten-Windsor.

 

7.  The Cabinet may agree that Her Majesty may be advised that it is proper for effect to be given to Her wishes. If so, the best way of doing this would seem to be for The Queen to make, as She did in 1952, a Declaration in Council indicating Her decision.  A draft is attached.  It has been so framed as to make clear the limited extent of the modification of the existing situation which is proposed. It will have practical effect only in the case of great grandchildren of The Queen other than the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales.

 

8.  The intention is that the Declaration should be made at a Council on the 8th February.   It will be necessary before then for the independent countries of the Commonwealth to be informed;  and this can be done by means of a communication from The Queen's Private Secretary to the various Governors-General or (in the case of Republics) by the Commonwealth Relations Office.

 

February, 1960

 



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Home Office

Whitehall S.W.1

 

S of S

 

The attached memorandum has been agreed with the Lord Chancellor’s office and the Attorney General.  If you agree, we shall have copies prepared for you to hand round at tomorrow’s Cabinet.

 

As regards the draft declaration, we support that you adopt the Attorney General’s wording for the time being.  It is simply a rewriting of the 1952 declaration. The objection is that it may be read as limiting the use of the term “House and Family of Windsor” to the Queen and her children: but this could have been read into the declaration of 1952.  Some fuller explanation will have to be given to the press.

 

Sir Austin Strutt has been asked by Sir Michael Adeane to show him the draft paper, so as to be sure that it correctly states H.M.’s wishes.  You may agree that we should let him see it for this purpose.


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TOP SECRET

 

CABINET

 

THE  NAME  OF  THE  ROYAL  FAMILY

 

Memorandum by the Home Secretary

 

On the 17th July, 1917, King George V issued a Proclamation, and on the 50th November, 1917, Letters Patent dealing respectively with the name of the Royal House and Family and the use of the style of Royal Highness and titular dignity of Prince and Princess.  The Proclamation provided that as from its date the Royal House and Family should be styled and known as the House and Family of Windsor and that all the descendants in the male line of Queen Victoria, other than female descendants who marry, should bear the name of Windsor.  The Letters Patent limited the right to the use of the style Royal Highness and titular dignity of Prince or Princess to the children of any Sovereign and the children of the sons of any Sovereign, and to the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales;  and provided that the grandchildren of the sons of any Sovereign in the direct male line, except the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales, should have the style and titles enjoyed by the children of Dukes.

 

2.   The view hitherto taken is that those members of the Royal Family entitled at birth to the use of the style Royal Highness and title of Prince or Princess do not have a surname;  I am advised that this view is correct.

 

3.   Under the Letters Patent of 1917 the children of Princess Elizabeth would not have been styled H.R.H. and Prince or Princess.  King George VI, by Letters Patent of 22nd October, 1948, conferred upon the children of her marriage with the Duke of Edinburgh the style of Royal Highness and titular dignity of Prince.  These Letters Patent were purely temporary and ceased to have effect on The Queen's Accession.

 

4.   In 1952, the Cabinet considered a suggestion that the name of the Royal House and Family should be altered. They decided, however, to advise The Queen that She should make clear Her intention to continue the use of the style 'House and Family of Windsor'.  The Queen accordingly made a Declaration in Council on the 9th April, 1952, in the following terms:—

"I hereby declare 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.

 

5.  The practical effect of the Proclamation and Letters Patent of 1917 and of the Declaration of 1952 is that those members of the Royal Family who are not entitled to the style of Royal Highness and the titular dignity of Prince or Princess, and who are not female members who have married would be known either by any title of honour which they may enjoy, or by the surname Windsor,  That surname would not be required to be used by The Queen's descendants until the birth of grandchildren in the male line of the Prince of Wales (other than his eldest living grandson) or, if the next Royal baby is a son, until the birth of his grandchildren in the male line.

 

6.   The Queen has now indicated it to be Her Wish that those of Her descendants who have to use a surname in this way should use the surname Mount batten-Windsor.  Her Majesty has no desire to alter the name of the Royal House and Family of Windsor.  She does, however, wish the next child, if a son, to be in the position, from birth, to transmit to his remoter descendants who will need a surname the name Mountbatten-Windsor.

 

7.   The Cabinet may agree that Her Majesty may be advised that it is proper for effect to be given to Her wishes.  If so, the best way of doing this would seem to be for The Queen to make, as She did in 1952, a Declaration in Council indicating Her decision.  A draft is attached.  It has been so framed as to make clear the limited extent of the modification of the existing situation which is proposed. It will have practical effect only in the case of great grandchildren of The Queen other than the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales.

 

8.   The intention is that the Declaration should be made at a Council on the 8th February.   It will be necessary before then for the independent countries of the Commonwealth to be informed; and this can be done by means of a communication from The Queen's Private Secretary to the various Governors-General or (in the case of Republics) by the Commonwealth Relations Office.

 

R.A. B.

 

1st   February.   1960.

 


 

DECLARATION

to be made in Council

 

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 of 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, while remaining in other respects of full effect and validity, 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 female descendants who marry and their descendants shall bear the name of Mountbatten-Windsor.

 


 

DECLARATION

to be made in Council

 

Whereas on the 9th day of April, 1952, I did declare in Council My Will and Pleasure that I and My children shall he styled and known as of the House and Family of Windsor, and that my descendants, other than female descendants who marry and their descendants, shall hear 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 he 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.

 



Extract 8

 

Dummy

 


 

Extract 9

 

Dummy


10

 

 PERSONAL AND TOP  SECRET

 

On February 8 The Queen intends to declare in Council Her Will and Pleasure that while She and Her Children shall continue to be known as the House and Family of Windsor Her /children and/ descendants other than female descendants who marry and their children shall bear the name of Mountbatten-Windsor.

 

This will not in practice affect any member of the Royal Family who bears a Royal Title.  It will however ensure that those members of the Family descended from Her who in future may require surnames should bear the double name.

 

The Queen's title of course remains unaltered.

This will be published in /Special Supplement to/ London Gazette appearing

/3,30/ 3 p.m. G.M.T. on February 8 / 9 and until then should please be treated as Top Secret.  Please inform your Prime Minister.

 

Private Secretary

CANADA

AUSTRALIA

NEW ZEALAND

CEYLON

GHANA

UNION OF SOUTH AFRICA

FEDERATION OF RHODESIA & NYASALAND

 


(16)

 

  TOP SECRET

COPY

 

HOME OFFICE.

WHITEHALL.

 

3rd February,  1960.

 

I return the  enclosure to your note of to-day.

 

The words   "children and"  in line 4 should be omitted: because they are not in fact in the Declaration.

 

In any case they are not correct because H.M's children do not bear a name, and will not need a name unless and until  they surrender their Royal styles and titles.

 

The inclusion of the words "children and" as well as "descendants" would I should have thought been more likely to be misunderstood than the word "descendants" alone, particularly when following on the reference to the children continuing to be known as the "House and Family of Windsor". Will the recipients and their Prime Ministers realise the difference between the House and Family name and a surname ?

 

I  suppose  "Royal Title" will  be understood  by the recipients.

 

Yesterday by the Home Secretary's  direction I saw Agnew and told him that  there would be an additional item for the Council and that he would have to arrange for a Special Supplement to the London Gazette to be issued on the afternoon of Monday 8th:  the object of this is to reduce the possibility of a leak and get the official announcement out as soon as possible after the Declaration had been made in Council.  Hence the alteration in red ink.

 

(SGD) AUSTIN STRUTT

 

Lt.-Col.   the Rt.  Hon.   Sir Michael Adeane,  K.C.B.,  K.C.V.O.

 


 

(17)

 

TOP SECRET                                                     

 

Outward Telegram from Commonwealth Relations Office

 

TO:   OTTAWA CANBERRA WELLINGTON CAPE TOWN

DELHI   (ACTING H.C.) KARACHI COLOMBO ACCRA

KUALA LUMPUR SALISBURY

 

(Sent 13.00 hours 4th. February 1960)

 

CYPHER PRIORITY

 

W.   No.   55     TOP SECRET AND PERSONAL        DEYOU

 

Those members of Royal Family who are entitled at birth [(i.e.  children of any Sovereign,  children of sons of any Sovereign and eldest living son of eldest son of Prince of Wales)  to style of Royal Highness and title of Prince or Princess do not have surnames.    Royal Proclamation of 17th July 1917 declared Royal House and Family should be known as House and Family of Windsor: all descendants in male  line from Queen Victoria,  apart from female descendants who marry,   should bear name of Windsor.

2.       Queen's declaration of 9th April 1952 stated Her Majesty and Her children to be  styled and known as the House and Family of Windsor and Her descendants  (other than female descendants who parry and their descendants)   should bear name of Windsor.

3.       Queen intends to  declare  in Council on February 8th Her will and pleasure that while She and Her children shall continue to be known as House and Family of Windsor Her descendants (other than female descendants who marry and their children)  shall bear bhe name of Mountbatten-Windsor.

4.       This will not in practice affect  any member present or future of the Royal Family with style of H.R.H.  and Prince or Princess. It will ensure that the members of  the Royal Family descended from The Queen who may in future require surnames,  because they are not H.R.H.   and Prince  or  Princess,   shall bear name Mountbatten-Windsor.

5.       Queen's title of course remains unaltered.

6.       Declaration will be published in Supplement to London Gazette  appearing at  3.30 p.m.   G.M.T.   on February 8th:  until then it  is TOP SECRET.

 

(To Ottawa, Canberra, Wellington, Cape Town, Colombo, Accra and Salisbury only)

 

7-       Her Majesty's Private  Secretary is telegraphing to Governors-General and above  is for your own information only.

 

(To Delhi, Karachi and Kuala Lumpur only)

 

7.       Please  arrange to  inform (Delhi)  and (Karachi)  President (Kuala Lumpur)  Yang di-Pertuan Agong  (Delhi and Kuala Lumpur)  and Prime Minister personally emphasising necessity for strictest. secrecy pending public announcement.

 

Copy to:-

Buckingham Palace   Sir M. Adeane

Home Office        Sir A. Strutt

 

CONSTITUTIONAL DEPT.

 


 

(18)

Questions

 

1. Is this a matter for The Queen’s personal decision or is it one on which She acts on the advice of Her Ministers?

 

Of course on This is a constitutional matter of this sort  on which Ministers tender advice.  The Queen has expressed a wish but the Declaration rests on ministerial advice and is their responsibility  responsibility for The Queen’s Declaration is theirs.

 

2. Were other Commonwealth Countries informed?

 

They have been informed of the Queen’s intention to make the Declaration.

Yes.

 

How?

By  communications to the Governors General and Heads of State.




(19)

Home Office

Whitehall S.W.1

 

Sir Charles Cunningham

 

we have talked about the Press notice.

I attach

A. draft press notice giving

(1) the news that the Declaration was made

(2) an explanation of the Declaration

B. draft background note which is intended to explain in what circumstances a surname is required why a surname is necessary, even though the name of the dynasty remains Windsor and why that name is retained for that purpose.

C. two possible questions, with suggested answers.

 

? To S of S

 

AS 5/2

 

CCC 4/2/60

 

good. Qns as amd

RB 5/.

 


 

Press Notice

 

The Queen at a meeting of the Privy Council to-day declared Her Will and Pleasure that while She and Her children would continue to be known as the House and Family of Windsor her Descendants, other than those entitled to the style and title of Royal Highness and Prince op Princess and females who married and their children, should  bear the surname of Mountbatten Windsor.

 

The Queen's Declaration does not in any way affect the title of the Dynasty nor does  it affect members of the  Royal Family other than The Queen's descendants.      The practical effect of the Declaration is  that,  as a surname is only required by those of The Queen's descendants who do not enjoy the style and dignity of Royal Highness and Prince or Princess, the surname Mountbatten-Windsor would in the normal course, so long as the present rules are maintained, first be used by the grandchildren of the Prince of Wales (apart from the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales) and of any other sons born to The Queen.

 

1.     Members of the Royal Family who are entitled at birth to the use of the style Royal Highness and the title of Prince or Princess do not have a surname.

 

2.     The use of that style and title is by Letters Patent of 30th November, 1917 limited to the children of any Sovereign, the children of the sons of any Sovereign and the eldest    living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales.  For descendants not enjoying that style and title a surname would be necessary.  This was provided by the Proclamation of 17th July, 1917, which declared that the Royal House and Family should be known as the House and Family of Windsor and that all the descendants in the male line of Queen Victoria who are British subjects, apart from female descendants who marry, should bear the name of Windsor.  Such remoter descendants were, under the Letters Patent, to have the style and titles enjoyed by the children of Dukes.

 

3.    The style of Royal Highness and titular dignity of Prince or Princess was enjoyed from birth by the Prince of Wales and Princess Anne in pursuance of King George VI's Letters Patent of 22nd October, 1948, conferring that style and titular dignity on the children of Her Majesty's marriage with the Duke of Edinburgh.

 

4.    The baby to be born to The Queen will enjoy them because it will be the child of the Sovereign.

 

5.    The Queen in the Privy Council on 9th April, 1952 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, other than female descendants who marry and their

descendants, shall bear the name Of Windsor".

 

6.          A surname will only be required for those  of Her Majesty's descendants who do not enjoy the style and dignity of Royal Highness and Prince or Princess.

 

7.            The Queen's Declaration of 8th February provides that their surname will  be not Windsor but Mount batten-Windsor, It does not in any way affect  the name  of the  Royal House and Family which,  in accordance with King George V's Proclamation of 1917 and Her Majesty's Declarations of 1952 and to-day is the House and Family of Windsor.

 

8.            Ordinarily a child uses the name of his  father's  family: but The Queen's children are in a special  position.    Their father has a surname which he assumed when he was naturalised But they themselves have no surname.  Descendants of sons of The Queen may.  however, need one; and the alteration now made in the surname combines  recognition of the special position of The Queen's children with the normal  practice.

 

9.            The surname of grandchildren of the Duke of Gloucester and of children of the Duke  of Kent and  of Prince Michael of Kent would, in accordance with King George V's Letters  Patent of 1917,  be Windsor.    The Queen's Declaration applies only to Her descendants.

 



(20)

 

                                       CONFIDENTIAL

 

Outward Telegram from Commonwealth Relations Office

TO:     OTTAWA

CANBERRA

WELLINGTON

CAPE TOWN

DELHI (ACTING H.C.)

KARACHI

COLOMBO

ACCRA

KUALA LUMPUR

SALISBURY

(Sent: 18.50 hours, 10th February, 1960)

CYPHER

 

W. No. 65 CONFIDENTIAL,

 

      My telegram W. No. 55.

 

SURNAME OF THE QUEEN'S DESCENDANTS

 

If you receive any enquiries about effect and background of change you may make use of information in my telegram, adding if necessary that

(a)  the Declaration gives effect to the Queen's own personal wishes though naturally Her Majesty notified them to Her several Governments in advance;

(b)  the Queen will remain Head of the House and Family of Windsor.

 

Copy to:-

D.I

C.R.O.                                  Miss Booker

Buckingham Palace    Sir M. Adeane

Home Office                       Sir A. Strutt

Dublin

U.K. Embassy,

Washington      Mr. H.S.H. Stanley U.K. Mission to the

U.N., New York  Mr. C.E. Diggines Lagos                                   Mr. Fingland                             

 

CONSTITUTIONAL  DEPT

-CON.72/210/4

 



(21)

 

10th February, 1960.

 

Confidential

 

My dear Coldstream,

The following is a resume of our talk on the telephone yesterday.

 

I mentioned a statement by Mr  Hankinson, editor of Debrett, writing in the "Daily Express" of 9th February, 1960, in which he wrote:-

"It seems to me that this has been announced now so that the new baby will be born with the surname of Mountbatten-Windsor which, of  course, it will not use.  It will be a hidden surname that will emerge when the descendants of the baby - if it is a Prince - are far removed from the Throne".

I then asked two questions:-

(1)     Is it a fact that the new baby will be born with the "hidden" surname Mountbatten-Windsor ?

 (2)     Have Prince Charles and Princess Anne now got the same "hidden" surname ?

You replied that Mr Hankinson's remarks, though not expressed in legal language, were, nevertheless, an accurate layman's description of the situation as it now exists and that the answers to (1) and (2) were both Yes; furthermore that the surname is "hidden" because it is not required by Royal Highnesses.  Since then I believe you have mentioned these discussions to the Lord Chancellor who concurred in your view.

 

As these are questions which may well be asked in the future - and asked in these lay terms -it would be very valuable if you could  let me have a record of the Lord Chancellor's confirmation of the answers.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

MICHAEL ADEANE

 

Sir George Coldstream, K.C.B.

 



(22)

 

CONFIDENTIAL                                              11th February 1960.

 

Thank you for your letter of the 10th February containing a resume of our telephone conversation of  the previous day.

 

After referring to Mr. Hankinson's statement  reported in the "Daily Express" of the 9th February that the new Royal baby would be born with the "hidden" surname of Mountbatten-Windsor, you asked me (a) whether I agreed with that statement, and (b) whether Prince Charles and Princess Anne have now got the same "hidden" surname?

I record that I answered both your questions in the affirmative, as expressing in accurate layman's language the legal effect of The Queen's Declaration of the 8th February.  I subsequently told you that I had reported our conversation to the Lord Chancellor, who confirmed my answers to your two questions.

 

This is to tell you that I have shown your letter to the Lord Chancellor, who has expressed the following opinion:

 

Her Majesty's Declaration of the 8th February is immediately effective in law for conferring on any of Her Majesty's descendants (including Prince Charles and

Lieutenant-Colonel The Right Honourable Sir Michael Adeane. KTc.B., K.C..V.O.

Princess Anne and the new baby) who may at any time need a surname, the surname Mountbatten-Windsor.     So long as, but only so long as, such a descendant is entitled to the style and dignity of H.R.H. Prince or Princess, he or she will not need a surname.     But when a descendant in the male line is born who is not so entitled;   or if at any time a descendant who is born H.R.H. Prince or Princess ceases for any reason to be entitled to that style and dignity;   then he or she will need a surname and that surname will be Mountbatten-Windsor.     The only exception would be the case of a Princess who was married at the time she ceased to be H.R.H. [when] she would take her husband's surname.

 

That is the legal position, and the Lord Chancellor considers that it is fairly explained in ordinary language by the use of the expression "hidden surname".

 



(22)

 

CONFIDENTIAL

11th February 1960.

Thank you for your letter of the 10th February containing a resume of our telephone conversation of the previous day.

 

After referring to Mr. Hankinson's statement reported in the "Daily Express" of the 9th February that the new Royal baby would be born with the "hidden" surname of Mountbatten-Windsor, you asked me (a) whether I agreed with that statement, and (b) whether Prince Charles and Princess Anne have now got the same "hidden" surname?

I record that I answered both your questions in the affirmative, as expressing in accurate layman's language the legal effect of The Queen's Declaration of the 8th February.      I subsequently told you that I had reported our conversation to the Lord Chancellor, who confirmed my answers to your two questions.

 

This is to tell you that I have shown your letter to the Lord Chancellor, who has authorised me to send you this confirmation in writing of the views which I expressed to you on the telephone and which are recorded in your letter.      Lord Kilmuir considers that the legal position is fairly explained in ordinary language by the use of the expression "hidden surname".

 

(Signed)     

GEORGE COLDSTREAM

 

Lieutenant-Colonel  The Right Honourable Sir Michael Adeane,

K.C.B. , K.C.V.O.

 



(23)

 

Lord Chancellor

House of Lords, S.W.1.

 

11th February 1960.

 

My dear

 

Herewith a copy of Adeane's letter to me of the 10th February and of a reply which the Lord Chancellor authorised me to send him.  In view of what Cunningham told me and the letter which he showed me, I shall not be sending my letter to Adeane until I hear from him or from you.

 

This is to confirm that before seeing you this afternoon I had arranged with Cunningham to send him copies of these letters.

 

Yours ever

 

George Coldstream

 

Sir Austin Strutt, K.C.V.O., C.B.

 



(27)

 

SUPPLEMENT TO

 

The London Gazette

 

of Friday, 5th February 1960

 

MONDAY, 8th FEBRUARY 1960

 

AT THE COURT AT BUCKINGHAM PALACE,

The 8th day of February 1960.

PRESENT,

THE QUEEN'S MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY IN COUNCIL.

Her Majesty was this day pleased to make the following Declaration:

" My Lords,                                                                                                                         

 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 of 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."

W. G. Agnew.

 



(36)

 

HOME OFFICE

WHITEHALL

 

 22nd March, 1960

Thank you for sending me a copy of the Law Journal of last Friday. The only comment I would make on that is that you omitted any reference to the Letters Patent of October 22nd, 1948, conferring upon the children to be born of the marriage of The Princess Elizabeth and The Duke of Edinburgh the prefixes and styles of Royal Highness and Prince or Princess.

 

(SGD.)  AUSTIN STRUTT

 

 

Edward F. Iwi, Esq.

 


 

March 18, 1960

THE LAW JOURNAL

[vol. cx] 183

MOUNTBATTEN-WINDSOR

By declaration of February 8, 1960. Her Majesty adopted for Her descendants, apart from those enjoying certain styles or titular dignities, the name of Mountbatten-Windsor She declared this to be Her Will and Pleasure as regards her descendants, while She and Her children should continue to be styled and known as the House and Family of Windsor. For many of us this is not the first change of royal names that we have seen, and the purpose of this article is to trace briefly links in the chain of title to the name of Mountbatten-Windsor and to consider the effect of the Declaration in relation to the title of Royal children to a family or surname. In a legal Journal we may well follow the practice of conveyancers to accept a document thirty years old as a good root of title. Accordingly let us start with the Declaration of 1917 when His Majesty King George V declared that " Our House and Family snail be styled and known as the House and Family of Windsor and our descendants .... shall bear the said name of Windsor ". This was very popular at the height of World War I. The English Royal Family thus acquired an English name in place of the former German name. At the request of George V his brothers-in-law relinquished the titles of Teck and took English titles with the family name of Cambridge. Prince Louis of Battenberg and Prince Alexander of Battenberg took English titles with the family name of Mountbatten. Thus, the name of Mountbatten came into being at the same time as the name of Windsor and for the same reason.

 

The next link in the chain of title is the marriage of Princess Elizabeth with the Duke of Edinburgh. He was a British subject, but owing perhaps to the zeal of the then Law Officers he went through the process of naturalisation and at the same time acquired Mountbatten as a surname. Princess Elizabeth in accordance with the custom followed by all the subjects of King George VI, acquired her husband's name on marriage.

The death of King George VI in 1952 was followed immediately by the Accession of Queen Elizabeth II, the last Sovereign of the House of Windsor and the first of the Family of Mountbatten.   This continued for only two months because, it is said, as a result of great pressure by Sir Winston Churchill a change was made.  The London Gazette announced:   "The Queen today [April 9, 1952] declared in Council Her Will and Pleasure that She and Her children shall be styled and known as the House and Family of Windsor, and that Her descendants, other than female descendants who marry, and their descendants, shall bear the name of Windsor ".   She did not expressly renounce the name of Mountbatten, but by implication did so. and thus Prince Charles and Princess Anne changed their name from Mountbatten, which they took from their parents at birth, to that of Windsor.   This was a departure from the precedent of Queen Victoria and the Prince Consort. Queen Victoria was the last Sovereign of the House of Hanover and Edward VII was the first of the House of Saxe-Coburg. There are two schools of thought whether a Prince or Princess having the prefix H.R.H. has a surname or family name.  In the Oxford Dictionary the two terms are synonymous.   The matter has never been judicially determined. In the absence of judicial pronouncement each school of thought is entitled to its own opinion and the respect of the other school of thought.

 

Everyone, however is agreed that a Prince or Princess . with the prefix .R.H. never uses a surname or family name.  If we refer to the Instrument of Abdication annexed to the Abdication Act 1936 we see that the Royal witnesses who were Edward VIII's brothers each signed only his Christian name. Because, as might be said, the Prince of Wales may never use the name Mountbatten-Windsor himself, it does not, in the view of the writer, mean that it is not in his lineage; otherwise how can he transmit it to those of his descendants who in due course will no longer be styled H.R.H. Prince ? If for any reason he ever renounced his Royal Style and Tides, to what surname would he revert ?

We now pass to the last document in the chain of title, which is the Declaration of Her Majesty dated February 8, 1960: "Now therefore I declare My Win 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 die 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 ".

 

Contemporaneously with this oral Declaration was a message issued by the Press Secretary at the Palace: " The Queen has always wanted, without changing the name of the Royal House established by her grandfather, to associate the name of her husband with her own and his descendants. The Queen has had this in mind for a long time and it is close to her heart".

 

Reading the words of the Declaration and message together, as we are entitled to do. and bearing in mind that they were given out on the same day, and only eleven days before the birth of the infant Prince, we may well feel that the Queen intended the name Mountbatten-Windsor to be in the lineage of Her children, not merely to be given to Her great-grandchildren and their descendants. To give the Royal children the name of Mountbatten-Windsor—even if they never use it—is in keeping with the idea that it is the birth-right of every legitimate child in a Christian country to be identified with its father. The right was not denied to the children of the Prince Consort, because they all, including Edward VET, bore their father's name and transmitted it to their children.

The view of the latent surname was well expressed by Mr. Cyril Hankinson. the editor of Debrett: " It seems to me that this has been announced now so that the new baby will be born with the surname of Mountbatten-Windsor, which of course it will not use. It will be a hidden surname that will emerge when the descendants of the baby—if it is a prince—are far removed from the Throne ".

 

In the writer's submission the Abstract of Title from 1917 onwards clearly proves that the Royal Family has a family or surname as well as a House name.  If it had never had a family or surname the Declarations of 1917. 1952 and 1960 would never have been made. It is a matter of historical interest that prior to William IV's accession he expressed a wish to be known in the Royal Navy as William Guelph {Hanover to Windsor, by Roger Fulford).  In 1917 the name became Windsor.   Having been Mount-batten for two months by the 1952 Declaration it reverted to Windsor. The 1960 Declaration, read with and in the light of the contemporary Press statement, has brought about a further change, namely, a latent surname of Mountbatten-Windsor. If we now turn to Halsbury's Laws of England (3rd I   edn.). Vol. XI at p. 390, para. 639, we find this instructive passage: "Similarly when a single transaction is earned into effect by several instruments, they are treated as one instrument, and in pursuance of the preceding rule, they must be read together for the purpose of ascertaining the intention of the parties; and this is so whether the instruments are actually contemporaneous—that is, all executed at the same time—or are executed within so short an interval that the Court comes to the conclusion that they in fact represent a single transaction ". At para. 640 we find: " If the intention of the parties can be ascertained from the written instruments, the Court will give effect to that intention notwithstanding ambiguities in the words used or defects in the operation of the instruments ". Moreover in Smith d. Dormer v, Packhurst ((1741) 3 Atk. 135) Willis, CJ., said (at p. 136) that " such a construction should be made in the words in a Deed, as is most agreeable to the intention of the grantor; the words are not the principal things in a Deed, but the intent and design of the grantor ".

 

We must not, in considering this matter, fail to give due regard to a fundamental maxim of equity, namely. " equity looks to the intent rather than to the form ". In constru-

ing statutes at the present time some Judges tend to give effect to the intention of Parliament rather than to the words of the statute.

 

Reading the Queen's Declaration in conjunction with the contemporaneous message and in the light of the surrounding circumstances, the writer feels that the conclusion is patently clear. While sympathising with the difficulties of cautious presentation felt by the draftsman working, perhaps, at speed, it is yet natural to interpret the Declaration simply as intimating that Her Majesty's real intention was to confer upon each of her children what has been, so the writer believes, properly described by the editor of Debrett as a "hidden surname ".

 

Recent history has shown how unwise it is to attempt to legislate from one reign to the next. The Regency Act 1937 has twice been amended, namely, in 1943 and 1953. In the light of this experience can a Declaration really be contemplated which is intended to come into operation only after almost half a century has elapsed ?

 

The common man using his common sense will arrive at the same conclusion as most lawyers. They will understand the 1960 Declaration to be that the Queen's House and Family is named Windsor; that of her children if they ever use a family name after their Christian names would be Mountbatten-Windsor. and it is that name which they will pass on to their descendants and which will be used by those descendants when the use of a surname becomes necessary.                                              Edward F. Iwi.


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François Velde

Last modified: Jun 28, 2007