July 17, 1917: King George V Changes the Last Name of the British Royal Family

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From the Series Lil’ History Chips

On July 17, 1917, King George V of the United Kingdom changed the British royal family’s name from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to the more English-sounding Windsor.

A blatantly political move, changing the German name was done under pressure from a war-weary nation that had been fighting  in what at the time had been the biggest and costliest war in human history.  England had even been bombed by German bomber aircraft named Gotha, causing that much more resentment.

As a cousin of both Czar Nicholas II of Russia and Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany, King George knew the incestuous nature of European royalty made him and his close family a target of the angry and bitterness felt over fighting a war seemingly on behalf of those rich and “noble” people to the detriment of the common man.

And while he was at it, King George also stripped members of the German nobility of their British titles.

The new name he selected for his family was inspired by Windsor Castle, long a residence of the royal family.   Of course, today the Windsor name is largely accepted without question and is assumed to be the appropriate name of the Royal Family by a public that has been successfully duped into accepting the continued propagation of an anachronistic monarchy.

So, do you think this name change was necessary?  Did the British Family need to prove its “Britishness?”  Is royalty a thing of the past?  Or, does money generated by tourism to Britain to see the Royal Family and its residences justify upholding and maintaining the monarchy?

Please share your thoughts in response to these questions in the comments section below.  

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About Author

Major Dan

Major Dan is a retired veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He served during the Cold War and has traveled to many countries around the world. Prior to his military service, he graduated from Cleveland State University, having majored in sociology. Following his military service, he worked as a police officer eventually earning the rank of captain prior to his retirement.