2 years ago
Last edited at 12:05AM on 2/19/2012
Here is what you have, directly from the website of the British monarchy itself!
"Before 1917, members of the British Royal Family had no surname, but only the name of the house or dynasty to which they belonged."
(So through British history, you had the Lancastrians, the Yorkists, the Tudors, the Stuarts, the Hanoverians...and so on...)
And so, when Queen Victoria married Prince Albert, the family took the name of their father's House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. The present royal family descends from Queen Victoria, but in 1917 King George V decided that Saxe-Coburg-Gotha sounded a little too Germanic for national sentiment of WWI, and formally adopted the name of the famous Windsor castle as both his surname and the name of his royal house.
But then Queen Elizabeth II (a Windsor) and Prince Philip (a Mountbatten) sweetened the surname pot a little in 1960, when they decided that they would like to distinguish their own descendants (or most of them, anyway) with the hyphenated surname "Mountbatten-Windsor."