The Strange Reason Why Queen Elizabeth Got to Pick Her Surname

For most of us, a last name is something that we are either born with or receive upon marriage, and we don’t really think twice about it. Often, we think of our last name as a definition of who we are or representation of our family roots, and the majority of the people in the world most likely couldn’t imagine having a different family name.

As we know, the royals tend to do things their own way, even when it comes to names. For one thing, some of the family members have two or three middle names. While we know that her full name is Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, we may not be familiar with the last name of the ruling monarch. Here is the strange reason why Queen Elizabeth got to pick her surname.

How do the royals get their last names?

Queen Elizabeth
Queen Elizabeth | Chris Jackson – WPA Pool/Getty Images

While they are typically referred to simply as the “royal family,” it turns out that they have a pretty unique process when it comes to choosing last names. As MentalFloss points out, the royals are pretty much the most famous family in the entire world, so it is not like they need to use the last name in order to distinguish themselves from others.

This is why they are often known by territorial names, or otherwise “Windsor.” For instance, Prince William and Prince Harry both used the last name of “Wales” while they were serving in the military.

Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge’s two oldest children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, use the last name of “Cambridge” at school. When Queen Elizabeth was born, she was given the last name of “Windsor,” which was first chosen by George V all the way back in 1917.

What is the Queen’s last name now?

Most people know her as “her majesty,” “the queen,” or “Queen Elizabeth,” yet do we ever stop and think about what her full name actually is? As it turns out, the queen and Prince Philip have the last name of “Mountbatten-Windsor.” They took this surname in 1960, and that is what they have gone by ever since.

The strange reason why Queen Elizabeth got to pick her surname

She is the highest-ranking royal, so it is really no surprise that Queen Elizabeth could have any last name that she wants. So, what is the strange reason as to why she got to pick her surname?

She and Prince Philip did this as a way to set themselves apart from the rest of the royals. We know where the name “Windsor” came from, but what is the story behind the surname “Mountbatten”?

It is the family name of Prince Philip’s mother, who took the name in 1947 when he officially became a British citizen. Before that, Prince Philip was a Prince of Greece and Denmark. But when he married into the British royal family, he was required to give up those titles.

The history of Queen Elizabeth’s last names, as well as the surnames that all of her family members use, is pretty confusing — but it is all for a good reason. While it may seem strange that her majesty got to pick her own surname, something that not many people do, she did it in order to stand by what she believed in and wanted for herself, her husband, and her direct descendants.