What Is Prince William’s Last Name?
People often wonder what the surname of the royals are, especially since they don’t sign or use their surnames often, if at all. This makes it confusing, do the royals even have surnames and if so, what is it?
Over the decades that Prince William has been alive, he’s either been acknowledged as Prince William or His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge. Many royal fans around the world would stutter if anyone asked them to name William’s surname, despite the fact that many of them could easily name his favorite dish or what sports he excelled in.
Prince William’s Last Name Revealed
Did you know that before 1917, members of the British Royal Family had no surname, but bore only the name of the house or dynasty to which they belonged?
Kings and princes were historically known by the names of the countries over which they and their families ruled. This prompted Kings and Queens to sign themselves by their first name only, a tradition which has continued in the United Kingdom to the present day.
However, the names of the dynasties tended to change when a rival faction within the family ascended the throne or when succession passed through a different family branch through females.
Just as children inherit their surname from their father, so sovereigns usually take the name of their “House” from their father.
In 1917, George V radically changed the rules and specifically adopted Windsor, not only as the name of the “House” or dynasty, but as the surname of the family. The name was adopted after the castle of the same name.
A Little History on The Royal Family Name
At a meeting of the Privy Council held on 17 July 1917, George V declared that “all descendants in the male line of Queen Victoria, who are subjects of these realms, other than female descendants who marry or who have married, shall bear the name of Windsor”.
The Royal Family name of Windsor was confirmed by The Queen after her accession in 1952. In 1960, the name underwent some modification when the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh decided that they would like their own direct descendants to be distinguished from the rest of the Royal Family (without changing the name of the Royal House), as Windsor is the name used by all the male and unmarried female descendants of George V.
According to the Royal Family’s website: “The Queen’s descendants, other than those with the style of Royal Highness and the title of Prince/Princess or female descendants who marry, would carry the name of Mountbatten-Windsor.”
Is a Last Name Necessary
This means that officially, Prince William has no last name since he enjoys the title of “Prince” and “HRH”. However, the website goes on to explain, “For the most part, members of the Royal Family who are entitled to the style and dignity of HRH Prince or Princess do not need a surname, but if at any time any of them do need a surname (such as upon marriage), that surname is Mountbatten-Windsor.”
It means that William can use the name when he deems it necessary. He doesn’t frequently use it, however, but he and his wife Catherine did use it when suing French magazine “Closer” for publishing topless photos of the Duchess. In the lawsuit (which they won), the royal pair were addressed as “Monsieur et Madame Mountbatten-Windsor.”
In school, William was known as William Wales, after his father who is the Prince of Wales.
Now, William’s children reportedly use the last name “Cambridge” in school, thanks to their parents who are the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
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