Introduction The House of Windsor came into being in 1917, when the name was adopted as the British Royal Family's official name by a proclamation of King George V, replacing the historic name of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. It remains the family name of the current Royal Family. The present Queen has familial ties with most of the monarchs in Europe. During the twentieth century, kings and queens of the United Kingdom have fulfilled the varied duties of constitutional monarchy. One of their most important roles has been acting as national figureheads lifting public morale during the devastating wars of 1914-18 and 1939-45. The period saw the modernization of the monarchy in tandem with many social changes which have taken place over the past 90 years. One such modernization has been the use of mass communication technologies to make the Royal Family accessible to a broader public all over the world. George V adopted the new relatively new medium of radio to broadcast across the Empire at Christmas; the Coronation ceremony was broadcast on television for the first time in 1953, at The Queen's insistence; and the World Wide Web has been used for the past seven years to provide a global audience with information about the Royal Family. During this period, British monarchs have also played a vital part in promoting international relations. The Queen retains close links with former colonies in her role as Head of the Commonwealth.1
Menu King Edward VII King George V King George VI Queen Elizabeth II
King Edward VII
Born November 9, 1841, Albert Edward reigned as King of the United Kingdom, the British Dominions and the Emperor of India from January 22, 1901 until his inevitable death on May 6, 1910. Smoking upwards of twenty cigarettes and twelve cigars a day, Edward was surely addicted to high quality tobacco, as pictured above. He was rarely interested in politics, although his views on some issues were notably liberal for the time. During his reign he said use of Edward fell victim to tobacco addiction and suffered from bronchitis. Surely he only smoked the finest.
the word nigger was "disgraceful" despite it then being in common parlance. While Prince of Wales, he had to be dissuaded from breaking with constitutional precedent by openly voting for Gladstone's Representation of the People Bill (1884) in the House of Lords. On other matters he was less progressive: he did not, for example, favor giving votes to women, although he did suggest that the social reformer Octavia Hill serve on the Commission for Working Class Housing. He was also opposed to Irish Home Rule, instead preferring a form of dual monarchy. Edward lived a life of luxury that was often far removed from that of the majority of his subjects. However, his personal charm with people at all levels of society and his strong condemnation of prejudice went some way to assuage republican and racial tensions building during his lifetime.3
King George V
Born June 3, 1865, George Frederick Ernest Albert was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India, from 6 May 1910 through the First World War (1914±1918) until his death on January 20, 1936. On 6 May 1910, King Edward VII died, and George became King. Not unusual for his time, he married his second cousin once removed, Princess
York Cottage. George and his wife, Mary, lived here from 1893 to 1926.
Victoria Mary of Teck. He had never liked his wife's habit of signing official documents
and letters as "Victoria Mary" and insisted she drop one of those names. They both thought she should not be called Queen Victoria, and so she became Queen Mary. Later that year, a radical propagandist, Edward Mylius, published a lie that George had secretly married in Malta as a young man, and that consequently his marriage to Queen Mary was bigamous. The lie had first surfaced in print in 1893, but George had shrugged it off as a joke. In an effort to kill off rumors, Mylius was arrested, tried and found guilty of criminal libel, and was sentenced to a year in prison. George and Mary enjoyed spending most of their time at York cottage, overlooking a quaint pond and vibrant greenery.2
King George VI
Born December 14, 1895, Albert Frederick Arthur George reigned as King of the United Kingdom from December 11, 1936 until his death on February 6, 1952. He had not expected to inherit the throne, but did in fact During WWII, Germans bombed Buckingham palace. King George VI narrowly avoided certain death. ascend to the throne after his older brother, Edward
VII abdicated after only 326 days of reign. Albert assumed the reignal name "George VI" to emphasize continuity with his father and restore confidence in the monarchy. The beginning of George VI's reign was taken up by questions surrounding his predecessor and brother, whose titles, style and position were uncertain. He had been introduced as "His Royal Highness Prince Edward" for the Abdication broadcast, but George VI felt that by abdicating and renouncing the succession Edward had lost the right to bear Royal titles, including "Royal Highness". In settling the issue, George's first act as King was to confer upon his brother the title HRH The Duke of Windsor, but the Letters Patent creating the dukedom prevented any wife or children from bearing royal styles.4 The stress of World War II weighed heavily upon King George VI, his health began to deteriorate and he unfortunately died in his sleep at 56 years old.
Queen Elizabeth II
Born April 21, 1926, Elizabeth Alexandra Mary has reigned as the supreme British monarch since February 6, 1952. She initially had little prospect of succeeding to the throne until her uncle, Edward VIII, abdicated in December 1936. Her father then became George VI and she became heir. Elizabeth and her younger sister Margaret were educated at home. On the outbreak of war in 1939, they were evacuated to Windsor Castle. In 1945, Elizabeth joined the war effort, training as a driver in the Women's Auxiliary Territorial Service (WATS). In November 1947, she married a distant cousin, Philip Mountbatten (formerly Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark), who was created duke of Edinburgh. George VI died on 6 February 1952 while Elizabeth and Philip were in Kenya. She returned home immediately, and was crowned at Westminster Abbey in June 1953. For more than 50 years, during a period of great change in Britain, the queen has carried out her political duties as head of state, the ceremonial responsibilities of the sovereign and a large annual program of visits in the United Kingdom as well as numerous foreign tours. Despite the controversies and scandals surrounding her children and other members of the royal family, she remains a respected head of state. She enjoys spending Christmas holidays at Sandringham House in Norfolk, which she privately owns. In 2002, Elizabeth celebrated her golden jubilee (50 years on the throne) and in 2006 her 80th birthday.6 Sandringham House. Elizabeth¶s gorgeous private estate where she spends her Christmas holidays.5
http://www.royal.gov.uk/HistoryoftheMonarchy/KingsandQueensoftheUnitedKingdom/TheHou seofWindsor/TheHouseofWindsor.aspx Pope-Hennessy, p. 421; Rose, pp. 75±76
Matthew, H. C. G. (September 2004; online edition May 2006) "Edward VII (1841±1910)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/32975, retrieved 24 June 2009
4 5 6
Howarth, Patrick (1987), George VI, Hutchinson, ISBN 0-09-171000-6 http://www.funtrivia.com/en/People/Elizabeth-II-14183.html http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/elizabeth_ii_queen.shtml