Today marks the 95th anniversary of the decision by the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha to change its name to the House of Windsor. Responding to general anti-german sentiment, King George V issued a Proclamation dissolving any association and rights to the German titles.
It was believed that the King were finally convinced to change their name when the Gotha Raids by early aircraft successfully bombed London. Having the German aircraft carrying out the raids sharing the same name as the Royal Family was rather inconvenient.
It’s also alleged that when the German Emperor Wilhelm II heard the news, he remarked jokingly that he planned to see Shakespeare’s play The Merry Wives of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.
The full Proclamation as printed in the London Gazette is below:
BY THE KING.
DECLARING THAT THE NAME OP WINDSOR IS TO BE BORNE BY HIS ROYAL HOUSE AND FAMILY AND RELINQUISHING THE USE OF ALL GERMAN TITLES AND DIGNITIES.
WHEREAS We, having taken into consideration the Name and Title of Our Royal House and Family, have determined that henceforth Our House and Family shall be styled and known as the House and Family of Windsor:
And whereas We have further determined for Ourselves and for and on behalf of Our descend ants and all other the descendants of Our Grandmother Queen Victoria of blessed and glorious memory to relinquish and discontinue the use of all German Titles and Dignities:
And whereas We have declared these Our determinations in Our Privy Council:
Now, therefore, We, out of Our Royal Will and Authority, do hereby declare and announce that as from the date of this Our Royal Proclamation Our House and Family shall be styled and known as the House and Family of Windsor, and that all the descendants in the male line of Our said Grandmother Queen Vic toria who are subjects of these Realms, other than female descendants who may marry or may have married, shall bear the said Name of Windsor:
And do hereby further declare and announce that We for Ourselves and for and on behalf of Our descendants and all other the descend ants of Our said Grandmother Queen Victoria who are subjects of these Realms, relinquish and enjoin the discontinuance of the use of the Degrees, Styles, Dignities, Titles and Honours of Dukes and Duchesses of Saxony and Princes and Princesses of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, and all other German Degrees, Styles, Dignities. Titles, Honours and Appellations to Us or to them heretofore belonging or appertaining.
Given at Our Court at Buckingham Palace, this Seventeenth day of July, in the year of our Lord One thousand nine hundred and seventeen, and in the Eighth year of Our Reign.
GOD SAVE THE KING.