Albert Victor George V
Duke of Clarence (1865-1936)
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Edward VIII George VI Henry William Windsor George Edward Windsor
Prince of Wales Duke of York Duke of Gloucester Duke of Kent
(1894-1972) (1895-1952) (1900-1974) (1902-1942)
Elizabeth II Margaret Rose Windsor
(1926- ) (1930-2002)
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Charles Edward Andrew
Prince of Wales Duke of York Earl of Wessex
(1948- ) (1960- ) (1964- )
(1982- ) (1982- )
The House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
With the death of Queen Victoria in 1901 her son Albert Edward became king after spending around fifty-nine years waiting around as the heir apparent. Although his given name was Albert Edward, he chose to be crowned as king Edward VII rather than king 'Albert I' and his father being Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, he became the first monarch of the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.
Albert Edward or Edward VII as he became had earlier married Alexandra Oldenburg (or Queen Alexandra) on the 19 March 1863. From this marriage there was a son John Saxe-Coburg who died on the 7th April 1871, the day following his birth, and five surviving children. There were three daughters;
and two sons;
Louise Victoria married Alexander Duff, 1st Duke of Fife whilst Maud married Haakon VII, King of Norway and was therefore known as Queen Maud of Norway; the current monarch of Norway Harold V, is her grandson. Victoria Alexandra never married.
The heir apparent, Albert, Duke of Clarence died on the 14th January 1892; the official line was that he died of pneumonia, although some sources claim that the true cause of death was syphilis. The rather hazy
circumstances of his death have led some to link the Duke's death with the series of murders carried out by the infamous Jack the Ripper and even to suggest the Duke himself was responsible for the murders.
Saxe-Coburg-Gotha becomes Windsor
Following the death of his older brother in 1892 George Frederick became the heir apparent and duly succeeded his father as George V in 1910.
With the onset of World War I in 1914 a general antipathy to all things German devloped within Britain and this anti-German feeling threatened to extend to the royal family itself, which was of course, largely of German origin and at the time still retined a number of German titles and honours. Therefore in the year 1917 George V decided that in order to demonstrate his patriotic commitment it was necessary to renounce all things German. Thus the royal family relinquished all its German styles and titles and adopted the family name of Windsor, taking the name from one of the family's principle residences at Windsor Castle.
Thus the House of Windsor was born, although it is really the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha continued under another name and to date all subsequent monarchs of Great Britain have sported the surname of 'Windsor'
Two Georges and an Edward
George Frederick Windsor was married on the 6th July 1893 to Mary of Teck, more commonly known as Queen Mary. They had six Children, a daughter named,
- Victoria Alexandra Alice Mary Windsor, (1897-1965)
who married Henry Lascelles, 6th Earl of Harewood
and five sons;
Albert Frederick became the Duke of York in 1920 and Dukedoms were similarly bestowed on the younger sons; Henry William became the Duke of Gloucester in 1928 and George Edward the Duke of Kent in 1934. The youngest son John Charles Francis developed epilepsy in childhood and later died in his sleep aged 13, after suffering an epileptic attack during the night.
George V died on the 20th January 1936 at Sandringham in Norfolk, and was succeeded by his eldest son Edward who duly became king Edward VIII. However Edward was forced to relinquish the throne due to his attachment to the American divorcee Wallis Simpson. Edward formally abdicated the throne on the 11th December 1936 and was later created the Duke of Windsor on the 8th March 1937.
The crown therefore passed to Edward's younger brother Albert Frederick, who like his grandather chose a different regnal name and became George VI rather than king Albert. Albert Frederick Windsor, Duke of York or George VI as he became, married Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (that is Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother) on the 26th April 1923, who bore him two daughters;
The modern Windsors and the Succession to the throne
Thus with the death of George VI on the 6th February 1952 the crown passed to the eldest of his two daughters Elizabeth who was crowned 2 Jun 1953 Westminster Abbey, ushering in the "new Elizabethan era" in the words of Winston Churchill.
Elizabeth II who is of course, the reigning British monarch, was earlier married on the 20th November 1947 to Philip Mountbatten, the Duke of Edinburgh, otherwise known as Prince Philip or 'Phil the Greek'. This marriage produced a daughter named Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise Windsor, the Princess Royal known as Princess Anne (born 1950) and three sons;
The current heir apparent is Charles Philip Arthur George Windsor, Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall, Earl of Chester etc commonly known as Prince Charles. Although it is sometimes assumed that this inevitably means that he will become king 'Charles III' in due course, he will be at liberty to select any one of his other given names as his regnal name and therefore might equally well become king George VII, king Philip II or even king Arthur should he be so minded.
Charles was married to Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales, commonly known as the Princess Diana on the 29th July 1981 although they were later divorced on the 28th August 1996. There were two sons from this marriage;
- William Arthur Philip Louis Windsor or Prince William born 21st June 1982
- Henry Charles Albert David Windsor or Prince Henry born 15th September 1984
who currently stand second and third in the line of succession to the throne.