A Brief History
The convoluted family ties in European royal houses are due to monarchs over the centuries coming from countries other than the country reigned over.
Back in 1701, Sophia of Hanover, a German, became the heiress presumptive of the throne of Great Britain and Ireland, and her son became King George I, the first of the Hanoverian monarchs of Britain. In 1901, the Germanic House of Hanover was superseded by yet another Germanic royal house, the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, its origins beginning with the marriage of Britain’s Queen Victoria to Prince Albert from territory in what is now Germany.
King George V changed the British royal “House” to Windsor in 1917 during World War I for political appearances because of the war with Germany and Austria.
Bonus: Some notable monarchs from nationalities other than the throne they occupied include Catharine II of Russia, aka Catharine the Great, who was from Prussia in what is now Poland, Anne of Kiev (Ukraine) became Queen of France,, King William III of England was Dutch, born in the Netherlands, and Catharine of Aragon, the first wife of King Henry VIII of England, was the mother of the future Queen Mary,. The list is virtually endless.
Question for students (and subscribers): What other European monarchs were not from the country they represented? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
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For more information, please see…
Norder Publishing. European Royal Families. Picton Publishing, 1993.
Paterson, Michael. A Brief History of the House of Windsor: The Making of a Modern Monarchy. Robinson, 2013.
The featured image in this article, a photograph created by the United Kingdom Government of Queen Elizabeth II and Commonwealth leaders, taken at the 1960 Commonwealth Conference, Windsor Castle, is in the public domain, because it is one of the following:
- It is a photograph taken prior to 1 June 1957; or
- It was published prior to 1974; or
- It is an artistic work other than a photograph or engraving (e.g. a painting) which was created prior to 1974.
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