25 Facts About the British Royal Family

The Royal Family is fascinating – individually and collectively. My own interest in them began with the engagement of Diana Spencer to Prince Charles. I was just 12-years-old, but there was something about her that just drew people in.

I got to thinking about all the questions I had about the Royal Family through the years – questions you might have about them as well.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it does contain some answers to questions you may have about them, from “What is the Royal Family’s surname?” to “Who designed Diana’s wedding gown?” and everything in between.

25 Facts About the British Royal Family:

Does the Royal Family Use a Surname?

1. The Royal Family doesn’t have a surname, at least not in the sense as the rest of us. Rather, their surname is representative of their House or Dynasty to which they belong. Their “surname” was Saxe-Coburg-Gotha up until 1917 when King George V adapted Windsor and declared in a meeting of the Privy Council “all descendents in the male line of Queen Victoria … shall bear the name Windsor.”

2. Speaking of surnames – In 1960, Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip decided they wanted their descendents to be set apart of other Royal family members and Elizabeth II declared at Privy Council their descendents would carry the surname Mountbatten-Windsor, with the exception being those whose style is Royal Highness, Prince, or Princess. Mountbatten is Prince Philip’s surname.

What is Prince William’s Full Name?

3. Prince William’s full name is Prince William Arthur Philip Louis of Wales. He is the elder son of Charles, Prince of Wales and the late Diana, Princess of Wales.

Diana Didn’t Promise to Obey Her Husband:

4. Lady Diana Spencer broke with tradition that dates back to ca. 1662 when she tied the knot with Prince Charles. Instead, their ceremony followed the Series I Alternative Marriage Rite of the Church of England ca. 1928 that excludes the part about obeying her husband. Instead, Diana promised to love, comfort, honor, and keep Prince Charles in sickness and in health.

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Who Designed Diana’s Wedding Dress?

5. Elizabeth and David Emanuel designed Diana’s wedding gown, made of ivory silk taffeta with beautiful antique lace. The train was 25-foot-long.

Does the Queen Have Any Siblings?

6. Queen Elizabeth II had just one sibling, Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon. Margaret died in 2002 after suffering a stroke.

How Old Was the Queen Mother When She Died?

7. The Queen Mother was 101-years-old when she died in her sleep. At the time of her death, she was the oldest surviving member of the royal family in British history. Her sister-in-law, Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester broke this record by living to 102.

How Long Has Queen Elizabeth II Been Queen?

8. Queen Elizabeth II is the third longest-reigning monarch of the United Kingdom, behind Queen Victoria and King George III, becoming Queen in February 1952.

What is Prince William’s Style and Title?

9. Prince William’s style and title is ‘His Royal Highness Prince William Arthur Philip Louis of Wales, Royal Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter.’

10. When Prince William and Kate marry in April, his title could very well be one of the following: Duke of Clarence, Duke of Cambridge, or Duke of Sussex. When or if Prince Charles accedes to the throne, Prince William will obtain the titles of Duke of Cornwall and Duke of Rothesay and will likely be invested as Prince of Wales.

Should William succeed to the throne, he will be using his regnal name. He will become King William V.

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Note: A regnal name is also known as a “reign name” or a formal name used by monarchs and popes. This has been in existence since medieval times and may or may not be their personal name.

What is Prince Harry’s Full Name?

11. Prince Harry’s full name is Prince Henry Charles Albert David of Wales and is the younger brother of Prince William.

When Did Prince William Get His Coat of Arms?

12. When Prince William turned 18, he was granted his own personalized coat of arms.

Do Prince William and Prince Harry Have Their Own Household?

13. The Queen granted Princes William and Harry their own royal household in 2009 at St. James’s Palace in London “to reflect their growing public lives.”

Prince Harry’s Cypher:

14. Prince Harry’s cypher, much like a monogram, displays an “H” in a shade of blue much like that of his mother’s.

15. Should Prince William become King, Prince Harry will be known as His Royal Highness The Prince Henry.

Diana Stumbled While Saying Her Vows:

16. When Diana said her vows, she stumbled momentarily while saying Prince Charles’ name. What do you expect? Their names are a mouthful!

What Became of Diana’s Famous Sapphire and Diamond Engagement Ring?

17. Prince William gave his betrothed his mother’s 18-carat sapphire and diamond engagement ring. William said this is a way to include his mother so she doesn’t “miss out on today and the excitement.”

18. When William and Kate marry, she will likely be known as Her Royal Highness, Princess Catherine (thanks, Sophia S.!). According to USA Today, her title will be guided by complicated rules dating back centuries and whatever Queen Elizabeth II decides.

And Catherine Makes Six:

19. When William becomes King, Catherine will become the sixth Queen Catherine in history. The others being Henry V’s wife Catherine of Valois, Henry VIII’s wives Catherine of Aragon, Catherine Howard, Catherine Parr, and Charles II’s wife Catherine of Braganza.

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The Queen:

20. Queen Elizabeth II is reigning queen and head of 16 sovereign states, the figurehead of the Commonwealth of Nations and the Supreme Governor of the Church of England.

Prince Philip:

21. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth, and Baron Greenwich, is Queen Elizabeth II’s husband. He is the only son of Prince Andrew of Greece and the great grandson of King Christian IX of Denmark.

22. Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip are both the great-great grandchildren of Queen Victoria as well as being related on his father’s side. King George I of Greece, Prince Philip’s paternal grandfather, was the brother of Queen Alexandra.

23. Prince Philip is interested in art. He is an artist and collector of art.

24. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, was the first Royal Family member to be interviewed on television in 1961.

Is Camilla a Princess?

25. Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, is Princess of Wales. However, out of respect for the late Diana, Princess of Wales she chooses not to use that title.

Royal Family Watcher
Lady Diana will not ‘obey’ – Times Archive
The Prince of Wales – Biography (Prince Harry)
Prince William gifts his mother Diana’s ring to Kate – International Business Times
What will William’s Kate Middleton be called? – USATODAY.com