King George V
Reigned January-December 1936
Abdicated. Never crowned.
King George VI
Reigned Before the Windsors:
King Edward VII (reigned 1901-1910)
The Hanoverians (reigned 1714-1901)
Full List of English Royal Dynasties:
More About the Windsors
About the Name Windsor
The royal family has little use for last names - after all, everyone knows who they are. Princess Diana did not take back her maiden name, Spencer, after her divorce; she continued to be known simply as Diana. The Queen signs official documents "Elizabeth R." The R stands for Regina, which means "queen." (Regina is not one of her given names; she was baptised Elizabeth Alexandra Mary.)
But the royal family does have a last name, and they do use it from time to time. This wasn't always the case. Queen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert, was a member of the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, so her descendants were part of that dynasty. This, however, was not the family's last name. They didn't have one, because they didn't need one, so they didn't worry about it. Experts later worried about it for them and decided their name was probably Witten (or maybe even Wipper).
The royal family's official name, or lack thereof, became a problem during World War I, when people began to mutter that Saxe-Coburg-Gotha sounded far too German. King George V and his family needed a new, English-sounding name. After considering everything from Plantagenet to Tudor-Stuart to simply England, the king and his advisors chose the name Windsor.
To this day, the British royal family is known as the House of Windsor. When Princess Elizabeth (the current queen) served as a subaltern in the Auxiliary Territorial Service during World War II, she was called Elizabeth Windsor. Elizabeth married Prince Philip of Greece, whose family name was Mountbatten, and eventually she decreed that most of her descendants would be called Mountbatten-Windsor. Princess Anne used this name in 1973 when she married Captain Mark Phillips.
However, according to statements made by the queen, it appears that Windsor is still the official family name for any British royal who is styled Royal Highness. The queen's youngest son, Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex, has used the name Edward Windsor professionally. His wife, the Countess of Wessex, has been known professionally as Sophie Wessex.
The Order of Succession
Under current law, males take precedence over their older sisters in the line of succession, but changes to the succession are currently being considered. The proposed new law would give royal daughters the right to inherit the throne before their younger brothers. The current line of succession would not be altered, however, meaning that Prince Andrew and Prince Edward (and their children) would continue to rank ahead of their older sister, Princess Anne, in the line of succession.
The current order of succession
Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge
Prince Andrew, Duke of York
Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex
James Windsor, Viscount Severn
Lady Louise Windsor
Princess Anne, the Princess Royal
Catholics and the Act of Settlement
The 1701 Act of Settlement made it illegal for a Roman Catholic, or anyone married to a Roman Catholic, to inherit the throne. It is possible that this restriction will be removed soon. (Note: It has been rumored that Prince Charles's second wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, is Catholic, but this is not true.)
The royal family uses, but does not own, Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, St James's Palace, Hampton Court, Windsor Castle and other residences. Balmoral and Sandringham are the queen's personal property.
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Book categories: The Royal Family, Photos, Pro & Con, Religion, Constitution, Titles and Rites, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, Prince of Wales, Diana, William & Harry, Princess Anne, Zara, Edward & Sophie, Fergie, Princess Margaret, Lord Snowdon, George V, Queen Mother, Edward VII, George VI, Edward VIII, The Kents, Others, Royal Collectibles, Royal Scandal, 20th Century, Media & Monarchy, British History, Genealogy, Royal Travel, Castles & Palaces, Art, Fiction, Would-Be Royals, Miscellaneous, Collectibles, DVDs, Royalty Magazines
The Firm: The Troubled Life of the House of Windsor by Penny Junor. This book promises an in-depth look at how the royal family really operates and how they behave behind closed doors.
Not in Front of the Corgis: Secrets of Life Behind the Royal Curtains by Brian Hoey. What does the Queen watches on TV? Why doesn't she have a driving license? This book answers thousands of questions about what happens in the royal family away from the spotlight.
The Women of Windsor: Their Power, Privilege & Passions by Catherine Whitney. Examines the lives of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, the Queen Mother, Princess Margaret, and Princess Anne.
Bright Young Royals: Your Guide to the Next Generation of Blue Bloods by Jerramy Fine. A guide to single royals: who they are, where to find them, "how to win their hearts." Published in 2011.
Wives of the Kings of England: From Hanover to Windsor by Mark Hichens. Discusses Queen Alexandra, Queen Mary, the Duchess of Windsor, the Queen Mother, and others.
The British Monarchy for Dummies by Philip Wilkinson. Explains the origins of the monarchy, how it works, what the royals do all day, and more.
The Royal Line of Succession: Official Souvenir Guide by Hugo Vickers. Comprehensive family trees with 60 illustrations, genealogical charts, and 16 royal coats of arms.
Britain's Royal Heritage: An A to Z of the Monarchy by Mark Alexander. Contains more than 2,000 entries on topics such as Maundy Money and the Coronation Ceremony.
On Royalty: A Very Polite Inquiry Into Some Strangely Related Families by Jeremy Paxman. With a mixture of popular history, direct reportage, and funny anecdotes, the author examines how the role of Britain's head of state has changed over the years.
Reader's Digest and the Royals: A Jubilee Celebration of the British Royal Family by Reader's Digest, foreword by Jennie Bond. The best accounts of the British royal family from the Reader's Digest archives, including profiles of royal family members and first-person recollections.
The Royal Family by Parragon Books. A year-by-year chronicle of the House of Windsor.
The Book of Royal Useless Information by Noel Botham and Bruce Montague. A "funny and irreverent" look at British royalty, past and present.
The Decline and Fall of the House of Windsor by Donald Spoto. Excellent introduction to the personalities and events that shaped the Windsor dynasty, from the days of Queen Victoria to the 1990s. Despite the title, the author is not unsympathetic to his subjects.
Confessions of a Fake Sheik: "The King of the Sting" Reveals All by Mazher Mahmood. A journalist who poses as a wealthy sheikh talks about his encounters with famous people, including royals.
Living Off the State: A Critical Guide to Royal Finance by Jon Temple. A detailed examination of the official finances of the British monarch and leading members of the royal family. Examines the Duchies of Cornwall and Lancaster; the Civil List; housing for leading royals; the Royal Collection; and more.
Marcus Adams: Royal Photographer by Lisa Heighway. Marcus Adams took his first portraits of future Queen Elizabeth II in 1926, and he continued to photograph the royals regularly until 1956. This comprehensive collection of his royal portraits includes many previously unpublished images.
Royal Encounters by Paul Ratcliffe. The author shares his photographs of the royal family at social engagements and walkabouts, as well as his personal conversations with royals, including Princess Diana.
The Royal Scrapbook by Robert Opie. Over 1,000 images illustrating more than 100 years of royal events, beginning with Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee and ending with Queen Elizabeth II's Golden Jubilee.
The Queen's Year: A Souvenir Album by David Oakey. A season-by-season guide to the Queen's busy year, illuminating the traditions behind many royal events. Illustrated with new photos.
Crowning Glory: The Merits of Monarchy by Charles Neilson-Gattey. Argues that monarchy is a stabilizing force, and explains how the concept of a constitutional monarch emerged and how monarchs since Queen Victoria have played that role.
The End of the House of Windsor: Birth of a British Republic by Stephen Haseler. Is the British monarchy an absurd anachronism or the lynchpin of the nation state? This controversial book argues that, as a result of recent scandals, a British republic is now inevitable.
War of the Windsors: A Century of Unconstitutional Monarchy by Lynn Picknett, Clive Prince, and Stephen Prior. Examines the battle for power in the modern British royal family. Topics include the abdication of Edward VIII, the cover-up of royal financial scandals, and the use of euthanasia on royals.
God Save the Queen? Monarchy and the Truth About the Windsors by Johann Hari. The author says the royal family's members have been broken and destroyed by the institution they were born into.
God Save the Queen: The Spiritual Heart of the Monarchy by Ian Bradley. Explores the spiritual dimension of monarchy in historical and contemporary times, and the debate on the future of the British monarchy. Diamond Jubilee edition.
Down With the Crown by Antony Taylor. British anti-monarchism and debates about royalty since 1790.
The Monarchy and the Constitution by Vernon Bogdanor. English constitutional history and theory. The author makes a case for the positive role that monarchy plays in modern democratic politics.
King and Country: Monarchy and the Future of King Charles III by Robert Blackburn. Unravels the tangled relationship between crown and state in Great Britain, examining how a monarchy can work in a democracy, the political powers of a British monarch and the nature of the royal prerogative, the case for republicanism, and the future of the monarchy.
The Enchanted Glass: Britain and Its Monarchy by Tom Nairn. A "powerful, analytical, and bitterly funny book" look at Britain's fixation on the Crown and its constitutional framework.
The Nature of the Crown: A Legal and Political Analysis edited by Maurice Sunkin and Sebastian Payne. Essays about the monarchy and constitutional law in Great Britain.
The Constitutional History of England by Henry Hallam. From the accession of Henry VII to the death of George II.
The Executive in the Constitution: Structure, Autonomy, and Internal Control by Alan Page and Terence Daintith.
Honours and Rewards in the British Empire and Commonwealth (2 Volume Set) by Anthony N. Pamm.
Symbol and Privilege: The Ritual Context of British Royalty by Ilse Hayden. Customs, rites and ceremonies of British royalty. Out of print, but available from Alibris.
The Princess Royal by John Parker. A 1989 biography of Queen Elizabeth II's only daughter. Out of print, but available from Alibris.
Riding Through My Life by HRH The Princess Royal. Princess Anne's own account of how riding has benefited her life, from her first tiny pony through becoming European Champion in the dangerous sport of Three-Day Eventing, and representing Britain in the Olympic Games. From Alibris.
Anne: Portrait of a Princess by Judith Campbell. About the events, joys, and sorrows of childhood and life at school which formed Princess Anne's strong character. Published in 1970. From Alibris.
Anne and the Princesses Royal by Helen Cathcart. A book about the position of Princess Royal through the ages as well as about Princess Anne. From Alibris.
Zara Phillips: A Revealing Portrait of a World Champion by Brian Hoey. The only daughter of Princess Anne, Zara Phillips is known as a royal rebel. This book looks beyond the public image to reveal the real Zara with anecdotes and quotes from those who know her.
Out of the Shadows: The Richard Johnson Story by Richard Johnson and Alan Lee. Autobiography of Richard Johnson, one of Britain's leading National Hunt jockeys and the former boyfriend of Princess Anne's daughter, Zara Phillips. Available from AbeBooks.
Edward Windsor, Royal Enigma by Wendy Leigh. What is Prince Edward really like? Find out! This biography is out of print, but available from Alibris.
Sophie's Kiss: The True Love Story of Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones by Garth Gibbs and Sean M. Smith. The little-known details of the romance between Queen Elizabeth's youngest son and the woman he eventually married. Out of print, but available from Alibris.
Edward Wessex's Crown and Country: A Personal Guide to Royal London by Prince Edward. The prince takes the reader on a tour through the history of London's royal palaces. This is the companion book to the PBS series (for which scroll down to the video section).
Princess Margaret: A Life Unravelled by Tim Heald. A biography based on unprecedented access to the Royal Archives and those closest to Princess Margaret, including her ex-husband, Lord Snowdon, and her son, Lord Linley.
Margaret: The Last Real Princess by Noel Botham. Biography of Queen Elizabeth II's unconventional younger sister.
Princess Margaret: A Life of Contrasts by Christopher Warwick. Authorized biography. Available from Alibris.
Snowdon: Public Figure, Private Man by Brian Hoey. When photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones married Princess Margaret in 1960, he became a member of the royal family -- and the "first royal rebel." The author talked to Snowdon's son and others to create a "full and frank portrait of this fascinating man."
Snowdon: The Biography by Anne de Courcy. Antony Armstrong-Jones married Britain's Princess Margaret in 1960. They divorced in 1978 -- the first royal divorce since Henry VIII. Available from AbeBooks.
Snowdon: A Photographic Autobiography by Lord Snowdon. A selection of Lord Snowdon's best photographs. Out of print, but available from Alibris.
Once Upon a Time: The Story of Antony Armstrong Jones by Robert Glenton and Stella King. Biography published at the time of Princess Margaret's marriage to Lord Snowdon. From Alibris.
Tony's Room: The Secret Love Story of Princess Margaret by William Glenton. Published in 1965. From Alibris.
Lord Snowdon by Helen Cathcart. Biography, published in 1968. From Alibris.
A Family Affair: The Margaret and Tony Story by Robert Hutchinson and Gary Khan. Published in 1977, this book explores the reasons for the couple's separation (they later divorced). Sometimes available from Alibris.
George V by Kenneth Rose. Biography of the British king, who lived 1865-1936. This book, winner of the Whitbread Prize, draws on letters and diaries of the royal family, intimates, and social observers of the time. Available from Alibris.
Darling Georgie; The Enigma of King George V by Dennis Friedman. The author of this biography suggests that George V's troubled relationship with his parents caused him to suffer extreme separation anxiety. His time in the Navy, sexual development, and years on the throne are also scrutinized.
Queen Mary by James Pope-Hennessy. Official biography of May of Teck, wife of King George V. Tells the story of her impoverished childhood, her very significant reign, and her old age as the much-admired Queen Dowager.
The Lost Prince by Stephen Poliakoff. Screenplay of a British TV movie about Prince John, the epileptic son of King George V, who was shut away at age 12 to save the royal family from embarrassment. Includes a 70-page factual introduction.
The Kents: A Royal Family by Audrey Whiting. Out of print, but sometimes available at Alibris.
Princess Alexandra by Paul James. Biography of a classic beauty who started life as something of an ugly duckling. From Alibris.
Princess Alexandra by Helen Cathcart. A lively and revealing biography written from personal knowledge. From Alibris.
Princess Michael of Kent by Peter Lane. About the wife of Queen Elizabeth's cousin Prince Michael of Kent. Out of print, but available at Alibris.
The Serpent and the Moon: Two Rivals for the Love of a Renaissance King by Princess Michael of Kent. About French king Henry II.
Crowned in a Far Country: Portraits of Eight Royal Brides by Princess Michael of Kent. The stories behind the dynastic and political marriages of 18th and 19th century European princesses.
Cupid and the King by Princess Michael of Kent. Looks at the lives of five royal mistresses: Diane De Poitiers, Nell Gwyn, Madame de Pompadour, Marie Walewska, and Lola Montez.
Katharine: A Biography of Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Kent by Valerie Garner. The Duke of Kent is a grandson of King George V. This is a biography of his wife, who is said to have been coldly treated by the royal family. Sometimes available from AbeBooks.
Princess Marina: Her Life and Times by Stella King. Biography of the Greek princess who married George V's son Prince George, Duke of Kent. She was the mother of the present Duke of Kent. From Alibris.
Alice: Princess Andrew of Greece by Hugo Vickers. About the mother of Queen Elizabeth II's husband, Prince Philip. Born deaf, Princess Alice led a dramatic, often tragic life, and ended her days as a nun.
Royal Subjects: A Biographer's Encounters by Theo Aronson. The author, who has written many royal biographies, shares the details of his interviews with members of the British royal family, including the Queen Mother, Princess Margaret, and Prince Charles. Out of print, but available from Alibris.
Books About Prince Charles
Buckingham Babylon: The Rise and Fall of the House of Windsor by Peter Fearon reveals the secrets of the Windsor family, past and present. Out of print, but available from Alibris.
The Royals by Kitty Kelley. An unflattering but very interesting look at the current royal family. From Alibris.
Dignified & Efficient: The British Monarchy in the Twentieth Century by Charles Douglas-Home and Saul Kelly. In moving portraits of the monarchs and their advisers, the authors examine the tasks of recent crowned heads and the virtues that enabled them to act for the common good.
The BBC Book of Royal Memories: 1947-1990 edited by Caroline Elliot. Look behind the scenes at how such historic royal events as Prince Charles's wedding were stage-managed. Large print.
Media and Monarchy by Mallory Wober. Discusses monarchs' uses of media and monarchy as the message through which the history of a nation is conveyed. Focuses mainly on the British monarchy.
The Quest for Albion: Monarchy and the Patronage of British Painting by Christopher Lloyd is an anthology of British paintings in the Royal Collection.
Royal Treasures: A Golden Jubilee Celebration edited by Jane Roberts. Specially commissioned photographs and detailed histories of the very best items in Britain's Royal Collection, including paintings and drawings by great masters; works of art by Fabergé and others; fine furniture, ceramics, sculpture, armor, and more. 450 color illustrations and photographs.
Unfolding Pictures: Fans in the Royal Collection by Jane Roberts, Prudence Sutcliffe, Susan Mayor. This lavishly illustrated book presents the most beautiful and historically interesting fans in the Royal Collection, along with the stories of their creation and biographical information on their owners.
Faberge in the Royal Collection by Caroline De Guitaut. A definitive guide to the British royal family's Faberge collection. Explains in detail the formation of the collection and the tastes of the principal royal collectors. 220 illustrations, 200 in color.
Royal London: A Guide to the Capital's Historic and Iconic Royal Sites by Jane Struthers. Reveals the history behind over 130 buildings, parks, gardens, statues, and other London attractions. Includes a map so you can plot your own walking tour.
Royal Transport: An Inside Look at the History of British Royal Travel by Peter Pigott. Who was the first monarch to drive a motorcar? The first to fly in an aircraft? Find out in this illustrated look at how British royalty has travelled since the invention of steam.
The Royal Train: The Inside Story by Brian Hoey. Examines every aspect of the royals' favorite form of transport, including the costs, refreshments, and the décor in the Queen's personal saloon.
Royal Tourism: Excursions Around Monarchy edited by Philip Long and Nicola J. Palmer. Explores the relationship between royalty and tourism past, present and future. (Not a travel guide.)
Freddy and Fredericka by Mark Helprin. Humorous story about a fictional Prince and Princess of Wales who travel across the United States: riding freight trains, washing dishes, stealing art, fighting forest fires, and becoming enmeshed in a presidential campaign.
Blood Royal by Harold Robbins. Novel about a (fictional) modern Princess of Wales who shoots and kills her husband.
The Queen and I by Sue Townsend. Humorous novel in which the Windsors lose their royal status and are forced to move into an ordinary English community. Out of print, but available from Alibris.
Queen Camilla by Sue Townsend. Charles and Camilla's "secret love child" tries to claim the British throne. Available from Alibris.
Royal Escape by Susan Froetschel. Mystery thriller about a fictional Princess of Wales who wants to end her marriage but faces opposition from her mother-in-law, Queen Catherine II.
Royal Flush by Leslie Weller. Screenplay. The Queen schemes to take back the American colonies -- without anyone noticing.
The Royal Factor by David Eckhoff. The Prime Minister replaces Britain's royal family with winners of a rigged reality show. Available for Kindle only.
Someday My Prince Will Come: True Adventures of a Wannabe Princess by Jerramy Fine. The author spent her childhood writing love-letters to Princess Anne's son, Peter Phillips. Years later she moved to London, but life there wasn't the Hugh Grant movie she hoped it would be.
King Nicholas and the Copeman Empire by Nicholas Copeman. True story of a 25-year-old British man who changed his name by deed poll to "His Majesty King Nicholas I," sold peerages over the Internet, received corporate sponsorship, and became a local celebrity.
We Are Amused: A Royal Miscellany by Brian Hoey. Fascinating facts on abdication, birthdays, Christmas, dining, garden parties, maids of honor, nannies, weddings, yachts, and more.
Eating Royally: Recipes & Remembrances From a Palace Kitchen by Darren McGrady. The author, who was Princess Diana's personal chef, shares recipes he served the royals. The book includes personal notes, photos, and memorabilia.
English Royal Cookbook; Favorite Court Recipes by Elizabeth Craig. A guide to dining like British royalty. Out of print, but available from Alibris.
The Queen's Stamps: The Official History of the Royal Philatelic Collection by Nicholas Courtney. Highly illustrated with full-color reproductions of some of the most famous stamps ever printed, this book features anecdotes about the kings, queens and courtiers who brought the royal stamp collection together.
Royal Family of Britain Paper Dolls by Tom Tierney.
These DVDs are formatted for North American audiences.
Monarchy: The Royal Family at Work. 2007 television series follows the royals through a year that includes over 4,000 official engagements, including the State Opening of Parliament and the Queen's tour of the United States. The two-DVD set includes 30 minutes of previously unseen footage.
Windsor Castle: A Royal Year. TV series produced for the BBC. For the first time ever, cameras go behind the scenes at Windsor Castle for a glimpse at life above and below stairs. Meet the Queen's housekeeper, grooms, fendersmiths, and military knights. Accompany Prince Philip as he tours the grounds. Includes over two hours not seen on the PBS broadcast, including exclusive new footage of the wedding of Charles and Camilla.
The Last Royals. Can kings and queens survive the challenges of the 21st century? This television documentary from National Geographic compares the British royal family with three other current royal families.
The Queen's Sister. This 2006 TV movie stars Lucy Cohu as the scandalous Princess Margaret, sister of Queen Elizabeth II.
Edward and Sophie: A Royal Celebration. This 1999 BBC-produced video features a half hour interview with the royal couple, followed by over an hour of wedding coverage. Sometimes available at Amazon.
Other British Royalty DVDs
DVDs About Elizabeth II and Prince Philip