The Royal House of Windsor - A Family History

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monarchs of the Royal House of Windsor. monarchs of the Royal House of Saxe - Coburg, the family history of the Royal House of Windsor, spouses of the monarchs of the Royal House of Windsor, children of the monarchs of the Royal House of Windsor, the fami

The Royal House of Windsor has ruled Great Britain for over 100 years, since 1901 until the present day.

The royal house was originally called the Royal House of Saxe Coburg - Gotha for the first 9 years of it's rule, during the reign of King Edward VII.

The name came from King Edward's father's German royal house of Saxe - Coburg and Gotha and was changed by King George V in 1917. 

King Edward VII was born at Buckingham Palace on the 9th of November 1841 and was the second child and first born son of Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert.

Due to Queen Victoria's long reign, Prince Edward, Prince of Wales, had the longest term of heir apparant in the British monarchy, succeeding his mother as king at the age of 59.

During his time as Prince of Wales, he became imfamous for his leisured lifestyle and was reknowned as a lover of horse racing, for being a serial philanderer and a heavy smoker and drinker.

During his lifetime it has been reported that the charming and affable Prince of Wales had over 50 romantic liasons, including with famous actresses of the day Lilly Langtry, Sarah Bernhardt and Alice Keppel. Even the mother of Winston Churchill had been one of his conquests.

During his nine year reign as King, Edward hailed the beginning of a new century which saw the rise of socialism, the labour movement, a new ' friendly' relationship for Britain with the rest of Europe and fashioned the elitist Edwardian Era.

After a bout of bronchitis in April of 1910, something he suffered from throughout his life due to his heavy smoking, the King suffered several heart attacks that eventually led to his death on the 6th of May.

He was interred in St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle on the 20th of May 1910.

The Prince of Wales married Alexander of Denmark ( 1844 - 1925 ) the daughter of Christian IX of Denmark and Louise of Hesse - Cassel on the 10th of March 1863.

 Alexander Princess of Wales was highly revered by the British public, something akin to the same revery the British public bestowed upon Diana, Prince of Wales in the 1980's and 90's.

Alexander was dogged by ill health and waning hearing during her lifetime and spent much of her time at home with her children and pets, but she did take an avid interest in many charitiable works.

Alexander is probably best remembered for her iconic, high necklines that she wore, which went on to set a fashion trend for many years. Historians believe that she wore the high necklines in order to hide a scar that she recieved from a childhood operation.

Alexander was the Princess of Wales for 38 years, Queen consort for 9 years and Queen Mother for 15 years, before her death of a heart attack in 1925, at the age of 80.

She is also interred at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle.

The Prince and Princess of Wales had six children, one of which became the future king, George V.

Their children were:

Albert - 1864 - 1892.

George - 1865 - 1936.

Louise - 1867 - 1931.

Victoria - 1868 - 1935.

Maud - 1869 - 1938.

Alexander - April 1871. 


King George V came to the throne upon the death of his father in 1910 and was crowned on the 22nd of June 1911 at Westminster Abbey.

George was born on the 3rd of June 1865 at Marlborough House in London. He was the second child and second son of King Edward VII and Queen Consort Alexander.

During his young, adult life he was a naval officer, and as he was never born to be king, saw much active service.

However, with the death of his elder brother Prince Albert from pneumonia in 1892, his naval career was halted as he became Prince of Wales and heir apparant to the throne of Great Britain.

He is best remembered as the king whose reign oversaw the first World War and for changing the British Royal House name from Saxe Coburg - Gotha to Windsor, due to public, anti German feelings due to the two country's war history.

His 26 year reign was fraught with problems for the country in the aftermath of the war years and also saw a rise in socialism, communism, fascism and Irish Republicanism.

During his later life he was dogged by ill health and suffered from a multitude of ailments, including emphysema, bronchitis, pleurisy and pulmonary disease, probably brought on by his heavy smoking and stress due to the country's problems in the wake of the war.

George died at Sandringham House in Norfolk on the 20th of January 1936 and was interred at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle on the 29th of January.

George married Mary of Teck ( 1867 - 1953 ) daughter of Francis, Duke of Teck and Mary Adelaide of Cambridge, on the 6th of July 1893, at the Chapel Royal at St James' Palace in London.

Mary was originally engaged to George's elder brother, Albert, but their engagement lasted only six weeks due to his untimely death.

Mary is probably best remembered for her regal propriety, her wearing of many jewels on state occasions and, during and after the war years, of her staunch loyalty and support of her husband.

Known as May to her family and friends, because of her birth month, she was officially known as the Duchess of York and Cornwall during her early married years, The Princess of Wales from 1901 - 1910, The Queen from 1910 - 1936 and finally as Queen Mary during her time as the King's mother, until her death on the 24th of March, 1953 from lung cancer, at the age of 85.

During the last year of her life ( 6th of February 1952 - 24th of March 1953) was the only time in British history that three Queens were alive at the same time, Queen Mary ( herself ) Queen Elisabeth ( her daughter -  in -  law ) and the as yet uncrowned, Queen Elisabeth II.

Mary was interred beside her husband at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle on the 31st of March 1953.

The royal couple had six children, two of which would go on to be kings of Great Britain.

Their children were:

Edward ( future Edward VIII ) - 1894 - 1972.

Albert ( future George VI ) - 1895 - 1952.

Mary - 1897 - 1965.

Henry - 1900 - 1974.

George - 1902 - 1942.

John - 1905 - 1919. 


Edward, Prince of Wales was born on the 23rd of June 1894 at The White Lodge, Richmond in Surrey and succeeded his father, King George V to the throne in January 1936 at the age of 42.

During his early adult life Edward had served in the army, undertaking trench warfare of which he was awarded the Military Cross.

His good looks, war time endeavours and fashion sense earned him movie star status in Great Britain, leading to him being revered by the masses when he undertook the duties of his father during the king's many illnesses.

However, during the 1920's and 30's it was said that the Duke had become reckless, was a compulsive womaniser and had taken on pro - Nazi and pro - facist tendencies.

As King it was his want to visit depressed and deprived areas of Britain, winning him the admiration of the masses but currying disdain by the government, as they saw his many visits to these areas as affairs that did not concern him and his many comments about the plight of the poor and the lower classes as critisism of their governing party.

He had also been seen in the company of married, American divorcee, Wallis Simpson.

The Royal Family and the British Government could not condone a king of the realm fraternising with a non titled,  divorcee of dubious character, this coupled with the above observations led to his subsequent desire to marry Ms Simpson being rejected, eventually leading to his abdication, just 11 months after becoming king.

On the evening of the 11th of December 1936 the King, who by now used the title Prince Edward, made a public broadcast to the Nation and the Commonwealth, relinquishing his crown to his younger brother Albert ( the future King George VI ) explaining that he was unable to conduct his royal duties without the woman he loved.

After the signing of the Royal Assent to his Majesties Declaration to Abdication, the following morning, the Prince was stripped of all royal duties and the right to his or his heirs royal lineage.

Later that day the Prince left England for Austria, never to see his homeland again.

In March 1937 he was given the title of the Duke of Windsor by his brother the king, a title which was also inherited by Wallis Simpson upon her marriage to him on the 3rd of June 1937, in Tours, France.

The Duke and Duchess of Windsor made their home in Paris, France, where they were given a large house for a small rent by the French Government and also made exempt from having to pay taxes.

It is believed that the Duke earned a small living from the writing of books, some of which were about the history of the Royal Family and Fashions of the Royal Family. He had been a follower and trend setter of fashion in his early days and still had a healthy interest in the subject.

During his latter years the Duke suffered from various ailments, of which the last, throat cancer, would claim his life.

He died on the 28th of May 1972 in Paris. His body was returned to England and he was interred at the Frogmore Estate in Windsor Great Park on the 5th of June.

After the Duke's death the Duchess became senile and evermore frail, and spent the remainder of her life living as a recluse in her home in Paris.

It has been rumoured that she was taken care of by way of an allowance by Queen Elisabeth II until her death 14 years later, on the 24th of April 1986.

After her death, she too was returned to England, where she was laid to rest alongside her husband at Frogmore.

The Duke and Duchess of Windsor had no heirs. 


Prince Albert, Duke of York was born on the 14th of December 1895 at Sandringham in Norfolk.He was the second son of the six children of King George V and Queen Mary.

He came to the throne upon the abdication of his elder brother, Edward, and was dubbed the ' Reluctant King ' so mortified was he with the enormous task his brother had bestowed upon him.

His reign is best remembered by seeing a decline in the British Empire, but the beginnings of the British Commonwealth. He was the last Emperor of India and the last King of all Ireland. His reign also oversaw the second World War 1939 - 1945.

On a personal note, King George VI was probably best remembered for his ' stammer ' which caused him much public embarressment, but because of this and the fact that he took the throne after the shame of his brother's abdication, he was much loved by his subjects.

In his latter years the King was dogged by ill health, finally succumbing to lung cancer on the 6th of February 1952. He died in the same place he was born 57 years previously and was interred at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle on the 15th of February.

Prince Albert married Elisabeth Bowes - Lyon, daughter of the Earl and Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne, on the 26th of April 1923, at Westminster Abbey in London.

Queen Consort Elisabeth is best remembered for her loyalty and support of her husband, and along with the King, for her many visits to bomb sites in the aftermath of the London Blitz.

On a personal level she is probably best known as the Queen Mother of her daughter Queen Elisabeth II and her longevity.

When she died in her sleep on the 30th of March 2002 she was 101 years old, making her the longest lived member of the British monarchy at that time.

She too was interred, along side her husband, in St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle on the 9th of April.

The King and his Queen Consort had two daughters, one of which would go on to be the future monarch, Queen Elisabeth II. They were:

Elisabeth Alexander May - b 1926.

Margaret Rose - 1930 - 2002. 


The Princess Elisabeth was born in Mayfair, London on the 21st of April 1926, the eldest of the two daughters of the Duke and Duchess of York.

She took the British throne upon the death of her father, King George VI in February 1952.

As a popular and well respected monarch, Queen Elisabeth II's reign is best remembered by her loyalty to her country and subjects and her unwaning duty towards her royal and religious commitments.

Since December 2007 Queen Elisabeth II has been the oldest royal monarch in British history, and the third longest reigning monarch.

Her reign has overseen many changes in the social structure of the U.K. She has presided over 12 Prime Ministers, 6 Conservative Governments, 5 Labour Governments and one Conservative - Liberal Democrat coalition. She has overseen four military conflicts ( The Falklands, The Gulf War, Iraq and Afghanistan ) and has been the only British monarch to host a Papal visit to the shores of Great Britain ( 1982 + 2010 ). She is head of the British Commonweath and The Church of England and was the first ever monarch in the world to have her coronation televised, when she was crowned in Westminster Abbey on the 2nd of June 1953.

In 2002, as head of the Church of England, Queen Elisabeth II passed a bill allowing the marriage of previously divorced people with living ex - spouses, to be able to marry again, in order that her eldest son Charles, could marry his second wife, Camilla Parker - Bowles, a woman he had conducted an affair with for decades.

This bill went on to cause considerable bad feelings with both the British public and the British government, particularly those that had remembered the sorrow of the abdication of King Edward VIII and the heartache endured by her sister Princess Margaret, both of whom had had their lives irrevocably changed due to this previous, outmoded religious law.

On a personal note Queen Elisabeth is known, unlike many of her forebears, for her abstinance, being a light drinker, a non smoker and eating to a strict diet. She is also an accomplished horsewoman and markswoman.

Most of the notorious moments of her reign have been centred around problems in the Royal Family, at first from her sister, the Princess Margaret due to a love scandal with an older, divorced man in 1953, a divorce in 1978 and concerns about her subsequent controversial lifestyle and waning health.

These concerns were then followed by a myriad of problems from her own children, with the divorces of three of them, revelations about court life from former daughter - in - laws and former royal servants, and the high profile lifestyle and subsequent death of her former daughter - in - law, Diana, Princess of Wales.

Her longevity has meant that her oldest son, Prince Charles is the oldest serving Prince of Wales in the history of the British monarchy.

Princess Elisabeth married her second cousin Philip, Prince of Greece and Denmark ( b 1921 ) son of Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark and Princess Alice of Battenburg, on the 20th of November 1947.

Upon his marriage the Prince relinquished his family title and was given the title, Duke of Edinburgh.

Philip is the second, oldest surviving grandchild of Queen Victoria and Britain's longest serving royal consort.

He is patron of over 800 organisations, Admiral of the Fleet, Field Marshall and Marshall of the Royal Air Force.

On a personal note he is most reknowned for his outspokeness, sometimes considered lacking in tact, his unwaning loyalty and support towards the queen and his total lack of concern by having to take a backseat to his wife's public duties.

The Queen and Prince Philip have four children, they are:

Charles, Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall - b 1948.

Anne, the Princess Royal - b 1950.

Andrew, Duke of York - b 1960.

Edward, Earl of Wessex - b 1964. 

Charles, Prince of Edinburgh, Prince of Wales, Earl of Carrick, Duke of Rothesay and Duke of Cornwall was born on the 14th of November 1948, at Buckingham Palace, London.

He was the first born son and heir apparant of Princess Elisabeth and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

Charles was educated at Gordonstoun School in Scotland, a place he despised, followed by a university education at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he became the third royal in history ever to gain a university degree.

After a career in the Royal Air Force, Charles married Lady Diana Spencer ( 1961 - 1997) daughter of John, 8th Earl Spencer and Frances Shand Kydd, on the 29th of July 1981 at St Paul's Cathedral, London. They had two sons, William, Duke of Cambridge, born on the 21st of June 1982 and Harry of Wales born on the 15th of September 1984.

Their union was not a happy one owing to the continued friendship of the Prince of Wales with his long term lover, Camilla Parker - Bowles. This led to the divorce of the royal couple on the 28th of August 1996, followed one year later by the tragic death of the Princess of Wales in a car crash in Paris, France on the 31st of August 1997.

Their son William was educated at Eton College before embarking on a university education at the University of St Andrew's in Scotland, where he became the fifth royal in history to obtain a university degree. He was further educated at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, but because of his position and future role as King, was not permitted to embark upon a military career. Because of this, the Prince has chosen to work as a helicopter pilot for the British search and rescue services, where he is based on the Isle of Anglesey in Wales.

William married Catherine Middleton, the eldest daughter of the three children of Michael Middleton and Carole Goldmith, on the 29th of April 2011 at Westminster Abbey, London. Upon their wedding day the royal couple were honoured with the titles the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. 

Their son Harry of Wales, was educated at Eton College before embarking on a military education at the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst.

Harry now follows a military career where he is a Lietenant in the Household Cavalry of the British Army, where he has seen active duty in Afghanistan.

Harry is also a Councellor of State for the British Royal Family, an accomplished sportsman, a champion of fallen military personnell, an advocate of his mother's many charitable causes, is seen regularly on British television and is a confirmed bachelor and serious, party animal.

Charles, Prince of Wales went on to marry his long term lover, divorcee, Camilla Parker - Bowles ( born 17th of July 1947) the eldest child of the three children of Major Bruce Shand and Rosalind Maud Cubitt, at a civil ceremony at Windsor Guildhall, Berkshire on the 4th of April 2005. Unlike his previous wife who was known almost exclusiely by her title of Princess of Wales, although entitled, Camilla declines to use this title in honour of the memory of the previous, much loved princess and is instead much better known as the Duchess of Cornwall.

Camilla has one son, Thomas Henry born in 1975, and one daughter, Laura Rose born in 1978, from her previous marriage to army officer, Andrew Parker - Bowles. She has no heirs with the Prince of Wales. 

Princess Anne was born on the 15th of August 1950, the first and only daughter and second born child of Princess Elisabeth and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, at Clarence House, London.

Anne was educated at Benenden School in Kent before embarking upon a sporting career where she became an accomplished, horsewoman. Anne has been honoured with the unofficial title of hardest working royal due to the 700 royal duties she performs every year and for being patron of over 200 organisations.

Born Princess Anne, but now known as the Princess Royal, she married Captain Mark Phillips ( born 22 September 1948) son of Major Peter Phillips and Anne Patricia Tiarks, at Westminster Abbey on the 14th of November 1973. Phillips. like his wife, was also an accomplished sporting, equestrian who won an Olympic gold medal at the Munich Olympics in 1972 and a silver medal at the Seoul Olympics in 1988.

Their stormy and much publicised marriage ended in divorce on the 23rd of April 1992. Their relationship produced two children, both of whom have no royal title by wish of both their parents.

They are Peter Phillips, born on the 15th of November 1977, who is married to Autumn Kelly and has a daughter Savannah who was born in 2010 and Zara Phillips, born on the 15th of May 1981. Like her parents before her, Zara is also an accomplished sporting, equestrian, and like her mother before her, also married an accomplished sportsman, international rugby player Michael Tindall in 2011.

Princess Anne married for a second time in December 1992, to naval officer and former equerry of the Queen, Major, Sir Timothy Laurence ( born 1st of March 1955), son of Commander Guy Laurence and Barbara Alison Symons, at Crathie Church in Balater, Scotland. Their union has produced no heirs.

Andrew, Duke of York was born on the 19th of February 1960, the second son and third born child of Queen Elisabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

Andrew followed in the footsteps of his father and elder brother by being educated at Gordonstoun School in Scotland.Upon leaving he chose instead of going to university to enter into a military life. After a distinguished, naval, military career, where he saw active duty during the Falklands War, the Duke married Sarah Ferguson ( Born 15th of October 1959) the second child of the five children of Major Ronald Ferguson and Susan Wright, at Westminster Abbey on the 23rd of July 1986, where she bestowed with the title of Duchess of York.

Although their union was an amicable one, their marriage ended in divorce after only ten years, on the 30th of May 1996. Due to this, Sarah was stripped of her ducal title.

Their union produced two daughters, Princess Beatrice of York born on the 8th of August 1988 and Princess Eugenie of York, born on the 23rd of March 1990.The marital status of their parents has no bearing on the princesses titles nor their lineage to the British throne, of which they are fifth and sixth in line.

The Prince now works for the nation as a special representative for international trade and investment,  

Edward, Earl of Wessex, was born on the 10th of March 1964 at Buckingham Palace, London. He is the youngest child of Queen Elisabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

Edward was educated at Jesus College, Cambridge, where he became the fourth royal in history to ever obtain a university degree. After a cadetship in the Royal Marines, of which he felt most unsuited, he followed a successful career in the theatre for many years. 

The Prince married Sophie Rhys - Jones ( born 20th of January 1965) second child of Christopher Bounes Rhys - Jones and Mary O'Sullivan, on the bride's birthday, the 20th of January 1999, at St Georges Chapel, Windsor Castle, whereupon Sophie was bestowed with the title of Duchess of Wessex.

Their union has produced two children, Lady Louise Windsor, born on the 8th of November 2003 and James, Viscount Severn, born on the 17th of December 2007.

Since their marriage the Duke and Duchess of Wessex both carry out a full working schedule of royal duties on behalf of the Queen, the Royal Family and the nation.


                                                      TIMELINE OF THE ROYAL HOUSE OF WINDSOR. 

For other British monarchy timelines, visit timelines-of-the-british-monarchy-1066-2010 

                                                           Edward VII - 1901 - 1910. 9 year reign. 

                                                           George V. - 1910 - 1936. 26 year reign. 

                                                           Edward VIII. - 1936. 11 month reign. 

                                                           George VI. - 1936 - 1953. 17 year reign. 

                                                           Elisabeth II. - 1953 - incumbent.

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                                                        All images courtesy of wikimedia commons.


Posted on Dec 12, 2011
Posted on Dec 12, 2011
James R. Coffey
Posted on Jan 28, 2011