What Are All The Members Of The British Royal Family’s Last Names?

Photo: Andrew Matthews/PA Images/Getty Images.
In these trying times, the universe has seen fit to gift us with two royal events: the engagement of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle, followed closely by the release of The Crown, Season 2 on Netflix.
After bingeing the show in a matter of days, and with the date of the upcoming of the upcoming royal marriage between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle now confirmed for May 19, 2018, I've been wondering: Do members of the royal family, mostly referred to by their titles and first names, actually have last names? And if so, what will Meghan's be?
It turns out that the British royal family has somewhat of a fraught relationship with last names — or surnames as they're known across the pond. Until 1917, they didn't have one at all. There were dynasties — like the Plantagenets, the Yorks, the Tudors, the Stewarts, and the Hanovers, clans or "Houses" who had fought for their claims to the throne over hundreds of years — but the senior members of the royal house didn't really use them for identification purposes.
That changed when George V (Queen Elizabeth II's grandfather), who was from the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, decided that amid the carnage of World War I, which pitted Britain against Germany, a German-sounding surname would give the wrong impression to all the families who had sent their sons to the front. By royal decree, the family was hereby to be known as Windsor, after Windsor Castle built in the 11th century by William the Conqueror, and a symbol of British power. In addition, George V also specified that the name "Windsor" wouldn't just be applied to the dynasty, but also be used as an actual royal surname.
The reason the original name sounded German is because it was. In 1714, Queen Anne died without an heir, leaving somewhat of a vacuum in the succession. Since Catholics could no longer inherit the British throne, due to the Act of Settlement of 1701, the closest Protestant relative available was the German Elector of Hanover, who became King George I.
By the time of Queen Victoria's ascension to the throne in 1837, the royal family was still closely tied to their German-speaking relatives — Prince Albert, her husband and consort, gave the royal house its new surname of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, the name of the duchy he came from.
The symbolic nature of the name "Windsor" came into question once again when Queen Elizabeth II came to the throne in 1952. As a private citizen, she had been known as Elizabeth Mountbatten (the surname Prince Philip had taken when he renounced his Greek citizenship in order to marry the heir to the British throne), but as Queen Elizabeth, her last name would also be the one passed down to the future monarchs of her line. It's a debate we see play out quite fiercely in the first season of The Crown between Elizabeth (Claire Foy), and Philip (Matt Smith), who tries to argue that he'll be the only man in Britain whose children don't bear his last name.
In the end, a compromise was reached: while the royal House would continue to called Windsor, descendants of the queen would use Mountbatten-Windsor as their last name when needed.
So, assuming Meghan Markle (whose first name is actually Rachel) actually changes her surname — which, in 2017, isn't a given — her new full name upon marriage will be along the lines of Rachel Meghan Mountbatten-Windsor — has a nice ring to it, no? Her formal title will be Princess Henry of Wales, and it is rumored she will also become HRH the Duchess of Sussex.
Click through for a look into the last names of the various branches that make up the British royal family tree.
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Photo: Andrew Matthews/PA Images/Getty Images.
Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Mountbatten-Windsor

Born Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor, the queen was known as Elizabeth Mountbatten after her marriage to Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten in 1947. When, in 1952, she ascended to the throne as Queen Elizabeth II, she reverted back to the royal surname.
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Photo: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images.
Philip Mountbatten

Originally from the royal House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, Philip became known as Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten in 1947 when he married Princess Elizabeth Windsor. Later in their marriage, the queen allowed him to call himself His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
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Photo: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images.
Charles Philip Arthur George Mountbatten-Windsor

As the heir to the throne, Charles' official title is Prince of Wales.
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Photo: Jayne Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images.
Diana Frances Mountbatten-Windsor

Born Lady Diana Spencer, she became Her Royal Highness Diana, Princess of Wales upon her marriage to Prince Charles in 1998. In 1996, they divorced, and she lost the HRH, but kept the title of Princess of Wales.
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Photo: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images.
Camilla Rosemary Mountbatten-Windsor

Formerly known as Camilla Parker Bowles, Prince Charles' current spouse now bears the title of Duchess of Cornwall.
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Photo: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images.
Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise Mountbatten-Windsor

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip's only daughter is known as Anne, Princess Royal.
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Photo: Chas Breton/Barcroft Images/Barcroft Media/Getty Images
Captain Mark Anthony Peter Phillips

Princess Anne's first husband, and father of their two children, was an Olympic gold medal-winning horseman.
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Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images.
Sir Timothy James Hamilton Laurence

Princess Anne married this Vice Admiral in the Royal Navy in 1992, the same year she and Phillips divorced.
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Photo: Karwai Tang/WireImage.
Andrew Albert Christian Edward Mountbatten-Windsor

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip's third child holds the title of Duke of York.
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Photo: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images.
Sarah Margaret Ferguson

Known in the press as "Fergie," she became the Duchess of York when she married Prince Andrew in 1986. Since thir divorce in 1996, she is known simply as Sarah, Duchess of York. If she marries again, she'll lose the title.
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Photo: John Lamparski/WireImage.
Beatrice Elizabeth Mary of York

The eldest daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson is known as the Princess Beatrice of York.
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Photo: Jeff Spicer/Jeff Spicer/Getty Images.
Eugenie Victoria Helen of York

The second daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson is known as the Princess Eugenie of York.
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Photo: Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images.
Edward Antony Richard Louis Mountbatten-Windsor

The youngest son of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip is known as the Earl of Wessex.
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Photo: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images.
Sophie Helen Mountbatten-Windsor

As wife to the Earl of Wessex, Sophie holds the title of Countess of Wessex.
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Photo: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images.
Louise Alice Elizabeth Mary Mountbatten-Windsor

Louise is the only daughter and eldest child of Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex and the Countess of Wessex. She holds the title of Lady Windsor.
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hoto: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images.
James Alexander Philip Theo Mountbatten-Windsor

As son to the Earl of Wessex and Countess of Wessex, James holds the title of Viscount Severn.
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Photo: STF/AFP/Getty Images.
Margaret Rose Windsor

Once Antony Armstrong-Jones was made Earl of Snowden after their wedding, Queen Elizabeth's younger sister became Her Royal Highness Princess Margaret, the Countess of Snowden. She kept her royal status until her death in 2002.
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Photo: Jon Furniss/WireImage.
Antony Armstrong-Jones

Though he and Margaret divorced in 1978, he remained Lord Snowden until his death in 2017.
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Photo: HANNAH MCKAY/AFP/Getty Images.
David Albert Charles Armstrong-Jones

Known as David Linley (after his first title, Viscount Linley) in his day-job as the former chairman of Christie's UK, Princess Margaret's eldest son became the second Earl of Snowden in 2017, when his father, Antony Armstrong-Jones, passed away.
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Photo: David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images.
Lady Sarah Frances Elizabeth Chatto

Princess Margaret's daughter, a painter, married actor David Chatto in 1994. They have two children, Samuel Chatto, and Arthur Chatto.
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Photo: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images.
William Arthur Philip Louis Mountbatten-Windsor

As second in line to the throne (after this father), Prince William currently holds the title of Duke of Cambridge.
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Photo: Samir Hussein/WireImage.
Catherine Elizabeth Mountbatten-Windsor

Kate Middleton became the Duchess of Cambridge when she married Prince William in 2011.
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Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images.
George Alexander Louis Cambridge Mountbatten-Windsor

This little munchkin prince is now third in line for the throne, after his father and grandfather.
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Photo: HRH The Duchess of Cambridge/Getty Images.
Charlotte Elizabeth Diana Cambridge Mountbatten-Windsor

As Prince William and Kate's second child, Charlotte is fourth in line for the throne, after her brother.
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Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images.
Henry Charles Albert David Mountbatten-Windsor

Prince Harry will reportedly be made Duke of Sussex when he marries Meghan Markle in May.
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Photo: David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images.
Peter Mark Andrew Phillips

Peter is the son of Princess Anne and Mark Phillips, and Queen Elizabeth's eldest grandchild.
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16. Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images.
Autumn Patricia Phillips

Born Autumn Patricia Kelly, this Montreal native married Peter Phillips in 2008. They have two children, Savannah and Isla.
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Photo: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images.
Savannah Phillips
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Photo: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images.
Isla Phillips
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Photo: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images.
Zara Anne Elizabeth Tindall

As the second child of Princess Anne and Mark Phillips, Zara is Peter's younger sister.
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Photo: Karwai Tang/WireImage.
Michael James Tindall

Zara Phillips married rugby player Michael Tindall in 2011. They have one child, Mia Grace.
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Photo: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images.
Mia Grace Tindall
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