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British royal family members, present and deceased, Buckingham Palace. 	Source: Carfax2/CC BY-SA 3.0

Origins of the British Royal Family Explained (Video)


The Windsors, the reigning royal family of the United Kingdom of Britain, have a rich and complex history rooted in the House of Saxony-Coburg and Gotha. Originally, the family traced its lineage back to a 10th-century nobleman named Theodoric, whose descendants rose to prominence in the Eastern March of the Holy Roman Empire. Over time, they acquired territories and titles, becoming electors of Saxony and playing significant roles in the politics of the Empire.

The family's fortunes shifted during the Protestant Reformation, with branches aligning themselves with different sides of the religious divide. The Ernestine branch, from which the Windsors descend, supported Lutheranism and suffered setbacks in conflicts with other branches and the Emperor.

Despite these challenges, the Coburgs, as they came to be known, strategically married into various European royal families, elevating their status and influence. Through alliances and marriages, they secured positions of power in Belgium, Portugal, Bulgaria, and eventually the British Empire.

The pivotal moment came when Prince Albert of Coburg married Queen Victoria of Britain, solidifying the family's connection to the British throne. Subsequent generations saw the family name change from Saxony-Coburg and Gotha to Windsor in 1917, amid anti-German sentiment during World War I.

Today, the Windsors continue to reign, their lineage intertwining with European royalty and their legacy enduring through the centuries.

Top image: British royal family members, present and deceased, Buckingham Palace. Source: Carfax2/CC BY-SA 3.0

By Robbie Mitchell

Robbie Mitchell's picture


I’m a graduate of History and Literature from The University of Manchester in England and a total history geek. Since a young age, I’ve been obsessed with history. The weirder the better. I spend my days working as a freelance... Read More

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