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The Windsor change; The House of Windsor is celebrating its centenary this year. MARION MCMULLEN checks out 100 years of royal highs and lows.

THE House of Windsor has seen four monarchs so far - George V, Edward VIII, George VI and the nation's longest reigning sovereign Elizabeth II.

But it also experienced the abdication crisis in 1936 when Edward VIII gave up the throne to marry Wallis Simpson. Edward VIII's reign lasted just 326 days - less than 11 months. He was never crowned.

Elizabeth II's reign has lasted more than 65 years. She overtook ancestor Queen Victoria to become the longest-serving British monarch on September 9 2015.

The German name Saxe-Coburg-Gotha came to the family in 1840 with the marriage of Queen Victoria to Prince Albert. Albert was born in Bavaria and was the younger son of the duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.

Because of anti-German feeling during the First World War, George V - Albert's grandson and Elizabeth II's grandfather - issued a royal proclamation on July 17 1917, ditching Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and making the royal family "the House and Family of Windsor" and announcing that they would "relinquish and discontinue the use of all German Titles and Dignities."

The name Windsor - after the 11th century castle - was the final choice for the royal family, but other suggestions included Tudor-Stuart and Guelph, which was the Hanoverian name. It was Lord Stamfordham, the King's private secretary, who suggested Windsor. Windsor is the oldest and largest continually occupied castle in Europe and was built in the 11th century.

The Royal Mint has marked the historic anniversary of the House of Windsor with a commemorative PS5 coin which features Windsor Castle's Round Tower. Designed by Timothy Noad, it is based on the original badge approved by the Queen's father, George VI, in 1938. Among the commemorative coins available is A 22-carat Gold Proof Coin (PS1,935).

The Duke and Duchess of York (later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth) spent their honeymoon in 1923 at Polesden Lacey in Surrey. The coronation in 1937 was the first true outside broadcast and was captured on film using a mobile control van.

After Elizabeth II's accession in 1952, the Queen declared that the royal family's surname would still be Windsor and not Mountbatten, much to the Duke of Edinburgh's annoyance. "I'm just a bloody amoeba," he is said to have shouted, when learning his children would not bear his surname. He later won a concession in 1960 when it was announced that the Queen's direct descendants - other than those with the style of Royal Highness and the title of Prince or Princess - when they needed a surname would use Mountbatten-Windsor, although the royal house remains the House of Windsor.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge used the surname Mountbatten-Windsor during the recent invasion of privacy court case in France over topless photos taken of Kate while she was on holiday in 2012.

The House of Windsor faced scandal and turmoil in the 1990s. The Queen branded 1992 her annus horribilis after three of her four children's marriages had ended or were on the rocks, and Windsor Castle went up in flames.

The monarchy was further rocked when Diana, Princess of Wales was killed in a car crash in 1997 and the Queen was accused of not reacting quickly enough to the nation's grief.

Windsor remains one of the Queen's favourite retreats. She heads to the Berkshire castle most weekends. She spent much of her childhood at Windsor during the Second World War when German bombing raids on London made it too dangerous for the royal children to sleep at Buckingham Palace.

The Duke of Edinburgh avoided his own 90th birthday exhibition at Windsor Castle six years ago claiming it was a lot of fuss about nothing.

The Queen, who turned 91 this year, has received many gifts over the years, but is said to like practical presents, but not overly extravagant ones. Her sons and daughters have apparently delighted the monarch over the years with household items such as a washing-up apron and a casserole dish. The Princess Royal gave her Billy Bass the singing fish - which moves and mimes the words to Take Me To The River and Don't Worry, Be Happy. She was so amused by the mounted fish that she was apparently given six more for Balmoral.


King George VI with the Queen in 1937

King George VI and Queen Elizabeth with Princess Margaret at Crathie Church in 1939

Left: King Edward VIII with Wallis Simpson; above, King George V with Queen Mary and, above right, Queen Mary with the Prince of Wales and Duke of York, right

King George VI and the Queen in traditional dress at Dyfed in Wales
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Aug 5, 2017
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