What's in a name: Why is Baby Archie's last name Mountbatten-Windsor?
Published Thursday, May 9, 2019 10:49AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, May 9, 2019 11:05AM EDT
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex revealed their newborn baby boy -- Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor -- to the world Wednesday.
Prince Harry and Meghan’s unconventional choice of Archie raised some eyebrows, while others were puzzled by the double-barrelled surname.
Many commentators, including CTV News royal commentator, Richard Berthelsen saw the last-name choice as a nod to the baby’s great-grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh, whose last name was Mountbatten.
But in fact all the Queen's descendants since 1960, other than those with the style of Royal Highness and the title of Prince or Princess, or female descendants who marry, would carry the name of Mountbatten-Windsor.
“In 1960, The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh decided that they would like their own direct descendants to be distinguished from the rest of the Royal Family,” according to the Royal Family website.
“This reflected Prince Philip's surname. In 1947, when Prince Philip of Greece became naturalised, he assumed the name of Philip Mountbatten as a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy.”
The effect of the declaration was that all the Queen's children, on occasions when they needed a surname, would have the surname Mountbatten-Windsor.
Prince Philip’s uncle, Lord Louis Mountbatten, was probably the most famous royal to hold the name.
A distant cousin of the Queen, as a great-grandson of Queen Victoria, he was killed by the Irish Republican Army while on holiday in 1979.
In 2018, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate, named their third-born child Louis in remembrance of Prince Charles' much-loved great-uncle.
“Before 1917, members of the British Royal Family had no surname, but only the name of the house or dynasty to which they belonged,” according to the royal’s website.
“In 1917, George V adopted Windsor, not only as the name of the 'House' or dynasty, but also as the surname of his family.”
The name change from house Saxe-Coburg and Gotha was a result of anti-German sentiment during the First World War. The name Windsor was adopted after the castle of the same name.
“For the most part, members of the Royal Family who are entitled to the style and dignity of HRH Prince or Princess do not need a surname, but if at any time any of them do need a surname (such as upon marriage), that surname is Mountbatten-Windsor,” the royal website says.
“Unless The Prince of Wales chooses to alter the present decisions when he becomes king, he will continue to be of the House of Windsor and his grandchildren will use the surname Mountbatten-Windsor.”
The surname Mountbatten-Windsor first appeared on an official document on November 14, 1973, in the marriage register at Westminster Abbey for the wedding of Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips.