Who founded the royal family of England

100 years ago: the invention of the Windsor family

The history of the British royal family of Windsor begins with anti-German resentment. In fact, anti-German feelings gave the actual founding impetus for the Windsor dynasty. Because while Windsor Castle can look back on a thousand years of tradition, the House of Windsor has only existed since 1917. On July 17th, George V simply renamed the royal family. The ancestral name of the British king was Sachsen-Coburg and Gotha - simply too German for wartime!

Threatened monarchies in Europe

While millions of British, French and German soldiers died on the Western Front, in London the tone against the king intensified. In March 1917, London was attacked - also by the long-range bomber "Gotha G.IV." The fact that the reigning king now bore the same name as a bomber that flew attacks on London in the so-called "England Squadron" caused irritation.

German bomber "Gotha G.IV" in the First World War

In addition, the Russian tsarist era ended with a bang in March 1917: After the February Revolution, Tsar Nicholas II, a cousin of George V, was forced to abdicate. George V quickly withdrew the British offer of asylum for fear of uprisings in his own country. The Romanovs were sent to Siberia and killed.

German heritage in Great Britain

Against this background, George V decided to cut all German connections. It was the royal private secretary Lord Stamfordham who is said to have proposed the renaming - a real highlight. Not only George V himself, but also all of his British relatives gave up their German nobility titles and took on British surnames. With that he became master of attackers, like the Prime Minister David Lloyd George, who is said to have dubbed King George V as "my little German friend".

Namesake of the Windsors: The Royal Windsor Castle

The German roots of the British heir to the throne go back to Queen Victoria, who ruled the empire between 1837 and 1901. She herself was a direct descendant of George I, who, as Elector of Hanover in personal union, also ascended the royal throne in London in 1714 and thus established the reign of the Guelph House on the island. With her marriage to Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Victoria laid the foundation stone for his family on the British Isles.

Lucky Windsor

George V was able to consolidate his reign, he also survived the Great Depression. His silver jubilee was celebrated in 1935, also in the overseas territories. When his son Edward VIII came to the throne, however, stability was over for the time being: The bon vivant had more Playboy charm than royal gestures, and so he did not last long in the reign. Out of love for his American girlfriend Wallis Simpson, he abdicated - after less than a year as king. A real crisis for the Windsors.

Family Outing to the Home Front: Elizabeth, George VI. and her daughters in 1942

The little brother jumped into the breach and ruled the kingdom as George VI. through World War II. He and his wife Queen Elizabeth (later known as "Queen Mum") set an example of conscientiousness, perseverance and selflessness. In addition, they and their two daughters again corresponded to the image of a royal family that stood together. One of the recipes for success that the Windsors have perfected to this day.

Royal Wedding: Elizabeth II with her husband Philip Mountbattan on the balcony of Buckingham Palace

The Queen and her problem children

Elizabeth II succeeded her father on the throne in 1952. For 65 years now, it has stood for stability and imperturbability in the British royal family. In doing so, it relies even more than before on the concept of the "royal family". Correspondingly inconvenient came the marital problems of her son Charles with Diana, the Princess of Wales. 1992 was a bad year for the Queen: Princess Anne and Mark Phillips got divorced, Prince Charles and Diana officially separated, Prince Andrew left his wife Sarah ("Fergie") Ferguson and then there were internals from Charles' broken marriage and Diana to the public.

Kate and William provide royal offspring

Prince George and Princess Charlotte

In 1997 Diana, the "Queen of Hearts", died after a car accident. Since then, the public's eyes have turned primarily to her sons, Princes Harry and William. The latter is number two in line to the throne. As a young adult, he became a sought-after royal bachelor. He met and fell in love with Kate Middleton while studying art history at St. Andrews University. From then on, the media followed their relationship at every turn.

Finally, in 2011, they offered the UK the long-awaited royal wedding. About two billion people watched the event on television or via live stream.

With her affinity for fashion, Kate brought contemporary elegance to the outdated monarchical institution. And also the two children of Kate and William, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, inspire the fans of the Royals today.