Princess Charlotte Technically Doesn’t Have a Last Name — Here’s Why

Last names are a little complicated in the royal family. That’s because some members of the monarchy don’t technically have them (or, at least, aren’t required to use them). And, others use entirely different names. Add that to the ever-changing royal titles and it’s hard to keep up with who’s who in Buckingham Palace.

That said, some of the most prominent members — such as Princess Charlotte — are impossible to forget. And, they certainly don’t need a last name for us to remember what their role in the family is. But, that’s not the exact reason why Princess Charlotte doesn’t technically have a last name.

Princess Charlotte

Princess Charlotte’s last name is optional. | Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Up ahead, we take a closer look at the royal family’s last name, plus why the young princess (and other members) don’t always use one.

The royal family’s last name

The royal family’s last name is a tad confusing, and a (somewhat) new concept for the monarchy. In fact, before 1917, members of the royal family didn’t have a last name at all. To keep up with modern times — and give surnames to those not as active in the royal family — the last name, “Windsor” was introduced by King George V. Not long after, when Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip married, the royals changed the family’s last name to distinguish their descendants apart from the rest of the royal family.

Today, the royal family’s technical last name is Mountbatten-Windsor (a combination of Queen Elizabeth’s and Prince Philip’s last named). However, some don’t have to use a last name at all. And, others use entirely different last names that reflect their royal titles, instead.

Princess Charlotte of Cambridge

Princess Charlotte of Cambridge can either go by Charlotte Mountbatten-Windsor or Charlotte Cambridge. | Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Princess Charlotte’s last name

Since Princess Charlotte has “Her Royal Highness” tacked onto her official royal title, she counts as one of the royals without a last name. In the royal family, such status is given to those with prominent royal duties and, therefore, are more well-known to the public. As a result, they don’t see the point in fussing over a last name. Princess Charlotte isn’t the most active royal at the moment but, given her parents’ status and place in British line of succession, she will one day take on important tasks.

That said, if Princess Charlotte needs to use a surname, she can. At school, Princess Charlotte probably doesn’t go by princess — and she definitely doesn’t go by her official title — she instead fits in with the other kids and uses a surname.

The jury is still out on which name she goes by, but Princess Charlotte (or Kate Middleton and Prince William, rather) has a few options to choose from. She can either go by Charlotte Mountbatten-Windsor or Charlotte Cambridge, in honor of her royal title.

Princess Charlotte

The little princess might one day become Princess Charlote of Wales. | Jane Barlow – WPA Pool/Getty Images

How her last name could change in the future

Since some unofficial last names are often a reflection of royal titles, Princess Charlotte’s last name could change in the future. Once Prince Charles ascends the throne, Prince William will likely become Prince of Wales. As a result, his children will earn a new royal status and go by Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis of Wales. When that happens, Princess Charlotte probably won’t use the name “Cambridge” and instead might call herself Charlotte Wales when necessary.

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