Mountbatten

From Academic Kids

Mountbatten is the family name adopted by two branches of the Battenberg family due to rising anti-German sentiment among the British public during World War I. On 14 July 1917, Prince Louis of Battenberg assumed the surname Mountbatten (a literal translation of the German Battenberg) for himself and his descendants, and was created Marquess of Milford Haven. The sons of Princess Beatrice and Louis's brother, Prince Henry of BattenbergPrince Alexander and Prince Leopold — also took the new surname, with Alexander being made Marquess of Carisbrooke.

The most well-known of Prince Louis' immediate descendants were his youngest son Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, and his nephew Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (husband of Queen Elizabeth II), the son of Prince Louis' daughter Princess Alice of Battenberg. The Marquessate of Milford Haven belongs to this family.

In 1952, on the accession of Queen Elizabeth, there was a fear that certain members of the Mountbatten family wished to change the name of the Windsor dynasty to Mountbatten. Queen Mary (the new Queen's grandmother) expressed her aversion to this idea to the then Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill.

Queen Mary's objection was based on the fact that Prince Philip was in fact a Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, as the son of Prince Andrew of Greece, and only a Mountbatten through his mother Princess Alice. Prince Philip had only taken the more "English sounding" surname when joining the British navy, on the advice of his ambitious uncle Earl Mountbatten. Queen Mary was also of the generation which considered a morganatic surname to carry some stigma, and therefore did not want it tainting the name of the British Royal House. Her attitude may also have been influenced by her own origins; although Queen Mary's mother was a British royal princess, her father, Francis, Duke of Teck, was the child of a morganatic marriage, and for most of his life carried only the honorific Serene Highness. As such, he was considered somewhat declassé by strict royalists, something that may well have always rankled Queen Mary to some degree.

Winston Churchill raised the matter in Parliament where it was decided that the name of the Royal House would remain Windsor, as decreed in perpetuity by Queen Mary's husband King George V.

However, in 1960, it was decreed that the surname Mountbatten will in future generations be incorporated into the cadet branches of the British Royal Family; the descendants of Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth will have the surname Mountbatten-Windsor.

See also


de:Battenberg (Adelsgeschlecht) no:Mountbatten

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