With the arrival of Prince William and Kate Middleton's third child, there is a lot of buzz around what the baby's name will be. Usually, it's just the first name and middle name that are up in the air for a new baby, but in this case you might be wondering about the last name. What is the Royal Family's last name? Believe it or not, it is a pretty complicated situation to explain.
British Royal Family members actually have more than one option to choose from when it comes to their last name. Of course, Royal Family members are so well-known that they don't really need a last name as an identifier. Everyone knows who Prince William, Prince Harry, and the rest of their immediate family members are with no last name needed. Madonna doesn't go by a last name and neither does Rihanna, but their given names are just an easy Google search away. The same cannot be said of the Royal Family.
Even though they don't "need" a last name to be identified, the royals do have a some options to choose from and each has an explanation rooted in history.
According to the official website for the Royal Family, the family members don't usually go by a last name, but they can go by the name of the royal house. In 1917, George V decided that the male descendants in the line of Queen Victoria would have the surname Windsor and would identify by the House of Windsor.
As stated on the Royal Family's official website, in 1960 Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip declared that their direct descendants would be distinguished from the other Royal Family members by taking on Prince Phillip's surname in addition to Windsor. Aside from the descendants with the Royal Highness or Prince and Princess titles and female family members who got married, all of the direct descendants could use the surname Mountbatten-Windsor.
Sometimes the Royal Family members us the family's territorial designation as a surname, according to Insider. Since their father Prince Charles is the Prince of Wales, Prince William went by William Wales when he served in the military (before he was married) and his brother, Prince Harry, served as Harry Wales or Captain Wales.
When Prince William married Kate Middleton in 2011, they were given the titles of Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their wedding day. Their first son is Prince George of Cambridge. In 2017, People reported that George goes by George Cambridge at his nursery school. Prince George's younger sister, Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, started nursery school in January 2018, presumably going by the same last name.
Sussex, Connaught, Or Clarence
There is some speculation about the titles that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will acquire when they are married in May. According to an article from The Independent, there are two likely front runners: the Duke and Duchess of Sussex or the Duke and Duchess of Connaught. Another contender is Clarence.
Sussex is viewed as the most likely choice since there are no family members currently holding the title and there has only been one Duke of Sussex in the past. Connaught is a possibility, but because Connaught is in the Republic of Ireland instead of the United Kingdom, it is said to not be likely to be chosen. Connaught hasn't been used in the last 70 years, but that could change when Harry and Markle marry.
According to The Sun, Clarence is "plagued by bad luck." Genealogist Charles Kidd explained the historical significance of Clarence to The Telegraph: "One Duke of Clarence was the eldest son of Edward VII and there have been a lot of fairly salacious stories surrounding him ... Another Duke of Clarence was executed for treason and allegedly drowned in a butt of Malmsey wine." Maybe Prince Harry and Markle can turn that luck around or maybe it is best to just leave Clarence in the past.
Harry and Markle's wedding date is set for Saturday, May 19. Their new titles will be designated soon enough and this would add another surname option for the Royal Family.
The Royal Family does not "need" a last name to be identified, but if an occasion presents itself when a surname is necessary, there are plenty of options to choose from.