The House of Windsor as we know it today began in 1917 when the family changed its name from the German “Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.” Queen Elizabeth’s grandfather, King George V, was the first Windsor monarch, and today’s working royals are the descendants of King George and his wife, Queen Mary. Below follow the line of succession and explore the many branches of the family over which the Queen and Prince Philip preside.
King George V, 1865-1936
The grandson of Queen Victoria—and grandfather to Queen Elizabeth—George V was born third in the line of succession and did not expect to become king. That changed after his elder brother Prince Albert Victor died in 1892. George ascended the throne after the death of his father in 1910, serving as King of the United Kingdom and Emperor of India until his death in 1936.
Queen Mary, 1867-1953
Queen Elizabeth’s grandmother Queen Mary was royal by birth (her great-grandfather was King George III). Despite technically being a princess of the German Duchy of Teck, she was born and raised in England. She was first engaged to marry Prince Albert Victor, the eldest son of Edward VII and her second cousin once removed, but after Albert’s sudden death in 1892, Mary agreed to marry his brother, the future King George V. The couple married in 1893, and had six children, two of whom would become reigning monarchs. She died in 1953, one year after her son, Queen Elizabeth’s father King George VI.
King Edward VIII, 1894-1972
The eldest son of George V and Queen Mary, Edward became king after his father’s death in 1936, but threw the country into crisis months later when he proposed to Wallis Simpson, an American divorcée. As monarch, Edward was head of the Church of England, which at the time did not allow divorced people with a living former spouse to remarry in the church, and thus the government opposed the marriage. Unable to marry Simpson and remain on the throne, Edward abdicated in December of 1936, and was succeeded by his younger brother Albert, Queen Elizabeth’s father, who would go on to become King George VI. Edward’s reign lasted just 326 days, one of the shortest in British history. After his abdication, he was named Duke of Windsor and married Simpson in 1937. They lived abroad until his death in 1972.
Princess Mary, 1897-1965
The only daughter of George V and Queen Mary, and Queen Elizabeth’s aunt. During World War I, Mary devoted herself to charity work, visiting hospitals and launching fundraising campaigns to support British soldiers and sailors. She later trained as a nurse, and worked two days a week at the Great Ormond Street children’s hospital in London. In 1922, Mary married Viscount Lascelles, who later became Earl of Harewood; theirs was the first royal wedding to receive coverage in fashion magazines like Vogue.
Prince John, 1905-1919
The youngest child of George V and Queen Mary, John was diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of four, and was sent to live at Sandringham House where he was cared for by his governess. He died in 1919 at the age of 13, following a severe seizure. His condition was not disclosed to the public until after his death.
Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, 1900-1974
King George V and Queen Mary’s third son, Henry was the first child of a British monarch to be educated at school, rather than be tutored at home, and ultimately attended Eton College. He served in the British military and had ambitions to command a regiment, but his career was interrupted by royal responsibilities following the 1936 abdication of his brother Edward VIII. He married Lady Alice Montagu Douglas Scott in 1935, and the couple had two sons, Prince William and Prince Richard. Henry died in 1974 as the eldest surviving child of George V and Mary.
Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester, 1901-2004
The wife of Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, and Queen Elizabeth’s aunt by marriage, Lady Alice was a direct descendant of Charles II through his illegitimate son, the nobleman James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth. She married Prince Henry in 1935, days after the death of her father, the 7th Duke of Buccleuch. The couple had two sons, Prince William and Prince Richard. Alice died at the age of 102 in 2004.
Prince George, Duke of Kent, 1902-1942
The fourth son of George V and Queen Mary, and Queen Elizabeth’s uncle. Like his elder brother Henry, George was educated at school, and spent time in the Navy before becoming the first member of the royal family to work as a civil servant. In 1934, he married Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark, and the couple had three children: Prince Edward, Princess Alexandra, and Prince Michael. At the start of World War II, he returned to active military service in the Royal Navy and later the Royal Air Force. His death in 1942 in a military air crash marked the first time in more than 450 years that a member of the royal family died during active service.
Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent, 1906-1968
The wife of Prince George, and a princess of the Greek royal house, Princess Marina was the daughter of Prince Nicholas of Greece and Denmark, and Grand Duchess Elena Vladimirovna of Russia. (Prince Philip is her first cousin.) In 1932, she met Prince George during a visit to London, and the couple married two years later; theirs was the first royal wedding to be broadcast by wireless radio. The couple had three children: Prince Edward, Princess Alexandra, and Prince Michael. Following her husband’s death in 1942, Marina remained an active member of the royal family and carried out many royal duties across the world, even representing the Queen at some events. She died in 1968 at the age of 61.
King George VI, 1895 – 1952
Known publicly as Prince Albert until his accession, King George VI did not expect to inherit the throne because his elder brother Edward VIII was first in the line of succession.
As the second son of George V and Queen Mary, he was made Duke of York in 1920, after serving in the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force during World War I. In 1923, he married Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, and the couple had two daughters: the future Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret. Following Edward’s abdication in 1936, Albert took the throne and assumed the name King George VI. The dissolution of the British Empire and formation of the British Commonwealth were finalized during George’s reign, so he was both the last Emperor of India and the first Head of the Commonwealth. George died in 1952 at the age of 56, and was succeeded by his daughter.
Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, 1900 – 2002
Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon was born into British nobility, the 9th of 10 siblings. In 1923, she married Prince Albert, the Duke of York, having turned down several previous proposals because she had misgivings about royal life. When her brother-in-law abdicated in 1936, Albert became King George VI and Elizabeth became the Queen consort of the United Kingdom. Upon her husband’s death in 1952, her elder daughter Elizabeth ascended to the throne, and she became known as the Queen Mother. She remained active in public life up to and even after her 100th birthday in 2000 and died at 101, seven weeks after the death of her younger daughter, Princess Margaret.
Prince William of Gloucester, 1941-1972
As the eldest son of Prince Henry and Lady Alice, Prince William was highly educated, studying at Eton College, Cambridge University, and Stanford University. While he later held jobs in banking and in the British civil service, Queen Elizabeth’s first-cousin was also a licensed pilot, and regularly competed in air show races. It was that passion eventually lead to his untimely death. In 1972, at the age of 30, Prince William died in an airplane crash.
Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester, 1944-
The younger son of Prince Henry and Lady Alice, Prince Richard initially had a career as an architect, but following the death of his older brother Prince William in 1972, he took on additional royal duties.
That same year, he married Birgitte van Deurs (1946-) whom he met at Cambridge University, and just two years after that, Richard inherited the title of Duke of Gloucester from his father Prince Henry. Now in his 70s, Richard remains active in public life and carries out regular royal duties for his first cousin, the Queen. He and his wife have three children together–Alexander Windsor (1974-), Lady Davina Lewis (1977-) and Lady Rose Gilman (1980-)–and six grandchildren (Xan Windsor, Lady Cosima Windsor, Senna Lewis, Tāne Lewis, Lyla Gilman and Rufus Gilman). The couple resides in Kensington Palace.
Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, 1935-
The eldest child of Prince George, the Duke of Kent and Princess Marina, Prince Edward is directly related to both Prince Philip and the Queen. As a grandchild of George V and Queen Mary, he is the Queen’s first cousin, and since his mother was a first cousin to Prince Philip, Edward is also Philip’s first cousin once removed. Edward inherited the dukedom of Kent following his father’s death in a 1942 military air crash. Nearly two decades later, he married Katharine Worsley, and the couple have three children together–George Windsor, Earl of St Andrews (1962-), Lady Helen Taylor (1964-), Lord Nicholas Windsor (1970-)–and ten grandchildren (Lord Edward Windsor, Lady Marina Charlotte Windsor, Lady Amelia Windsor, Columbus Taylor, Cassius Taylor, Eloise Taylor, Estella Taylor, Albert Windsor, Leopold Windsor and Louis Windsor). Now in his 80s, Prince Edward regularly carries out royal duties on behalf of the Queen. He and his wife live on the grounds of Kensington Palace in the royal residence Wren House.
Princess Alexandra, The Honourable Lady Ogilvy, 1936-
Like her two brothers, Princess Alexandra is directly related to both Prince Philip and the Queen. As the eldest daughter of Prince George, the Duke of Kent and Princess Marina, she is both Queen Elizabeth’s first cousin and Prince Philip’s first cousin once removed. Princess Alexandra married the businessman Sir Angus Ogilvy in 1963, and the couple have two children–James Ogilvy (1964-) and Marina Ogilvy (1966-)–and four grandchildren (Alexander Charles Ogilvy, Flora Alexandra Ogilvy, Zenouska Mowatt and Christian Mowatt). Alexandra is reportedly quite close with the royal couple, and while Sir Angus Ogilvy passed away in 2004, she continues to be an active working royal and resides in St James’s Palace in London.
Prince Michael of Kent, 1942-
Like his brother Prince Edward and his sister Princess Alexandra, Prince Michael of Kent is directly related to both Prince Philip and the Queen.
As the youngest child of Prince George, the Duke of Kent and Princess Marina, he is both Queen Elizabeth’s first cousin and Prince Philip’s first cousin once removed. In 1978, he married Baroness Marie Christine von Reibnitz in a civil ceremony in Austria, and the couple have two children together: Lord Frederick Windsor (1979-) and Lady Gabriella Windsor (1981-). Michael takes on fewer royal responsibilities than his siblings, but he does sometimes represent the Queen at events in Commonwealth countries outside of the United Kingdom. In recognition of this work, the Queen provided Prince Michael and his wife with an apartment at Kensington Palace for a number of years, but after that proved controversial, they now pay rent.
Queen Elizabeth II, 1926-
Elizabeth II is the current Queen of the United Kingdom and Head of the Commonwealth. Born third in the line of succession, Elizabeth became the presumptive heir to the throne in 1936, following the abdication of her uncle Edward VIII and the ascension of her father, George VI. In 1947, she became engaged to Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, whom she had first met at the age of 13. The couple were married the same year at Westminster Abbey, and have four children together. After her father died in 1952, Elizabeth ascended to the throne. Currently in her 90s, she is both the longest-reigning and the longest-living British monarch in history, having reigned for more than 66 years. Her great-grandmother Queen Victoria, the second longest-reigning monarch, reigned for 63 years.
Princess Margaret, 1930 – 2002
Queen Elizabeth’s younger sister Margaret was 22 when her sister took the throne, and shortly afterwards became engaged to air force officer Peter Townsend. Because Townsend was divorced, the Church of England would not approve the marriage, and Margaret was famously forced to choose between ending the relationship and losing her royal privileges. She broke off her engagement with Townsend, and in 1960 married society photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones, who was given the title Earl of Snowdon. The couple had two children together, and ultimately divorced in 1978 after a tempestuous 20-year marriage. Margaret died in 2002, at the age of 71.
Antony Armstrong-Jones, Lord Snowdon, 1930-2017
Antony Armstrong-Jones, a.k.a. Lord Snowdon, was the husband of Princess Margaret, and brother-in-law to Queen Elizabeth. Armstrong-Jones was a fashion and society photographer when he met Margaret in 1958, and they married two years later in 1960. The couple had two children together – David Armstrong-Jones (1961-) and Lady Sarah Chatto (1964-) – and four grandchildren (Charles Armstrong-Jones, Viscount Linley, Lady Margarita Armstrong-Jones, Samuel Chatto and Arthur Chatto), but divorced in 1978. Armstrong-Jones married his second wife Lucy Mary Lindsay-Hogg that same year, and they remained married until 2000. Armstrong-Jones died in 2017 at the age of 86.
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, 1921-
Prince Philip is best known as Queen Elizabeth’s husband and consort, but he is also royal in his own right. He was born Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, but Philip and his family were exiled from Greece during his childhood, and so he studied in France, Germany, and the United Kingdom before eventually serving in the British Royal Navy. He married then-Princess Elizabeth in 1947, during the reign of her father George VI, and the couple have four children together. Now in his 90s, Philip is not only the longest-serving consort of a reigning British monarch, but also the longest-living male British royal in history.
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, 1948-
The eldest child of Queen Elizabeth, and the heir apparent to the British throne, Prince Charles was born in 1948 in Buckingham Palace. He went on to be educated at a number of institutions including Cheam and Gordonstoun Schools (which his father attended before him) and Cambridge University, before serving in the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy.
In 1981, Charles married Diana Spencer, and the couple had two sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, before divorcing in 1996. Charles later married his second wife Camilla Parker Bowles in 2005. Having held the title since 1958, Charles is the longest-serving Prince of Wales in history. He is also the first heir to the British throne ever to have a university degree.
Diana, Princess of Wales, 1961-
Diana Spencer was born on July 1, 1961 into British nobility, as the third John Spencer, Viscount Althorp and Frances Roche’s four children. She met Prince Charles when she was 16, and married him in July of 1981, becoming the Princess of Wales. Charles and Diana had two children together, Prince William and Prince Harry before divorcing in 1996. One year later, she tragically died in a car accident in Paris on August 31, 1997.
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, 1947-
The second wife of Prince Charles, Camilla Rosemary Shand is the eldest daughter of military officer and businessman Major Bruce Shand and his wife Rosalind Shand. She is also the granddaughter of nobleman Roland Cubitt, 3rd Baron Ashcombe. In 1973, Camilla married her first husband Andrew Parker Bowles, and the couple had two children, Tom and Lisa, before divorcing in 1995. In 2005, Camilla married Prince Charles in a civil ceremony, and she became the Duchess of Cornwall.
Princess Anne, Princess Royal, 1950-
The second child and only daughter of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, Princess Anne is one of the hardest working members of the royal family. She is also an accomplished equestrian, and was even the first British royal to compete in the Olympic Games. In 1973, Anne married Captain Mark Phillips, and the couple had two children together before divorcing in 1992. Later that year, Anne married Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, her mother’s former equerry. She currently resides in St James’s Palace.
Captain Mark Phillips, 1948-
Princess Anne met her first husband, Captain Mark Phillips, at the 1972 Olympics in Munich, where he was part of the British equestrian team and also competed individually. The couple married in 1973, and had two children together before divorcing in 1992.
Sir Timothy Laurence, 1955-
The second husband of Anne, Princess Royal. A retired Royal Navy officer, Timothy met Anne in 1986 while he was serving as equerry to Queen Elizabeth. After her divorce from Captain Mark Phillips in 1992, Anne and Timothy married, and although he received no title upon the marriage, in 2008 he was appointed as a personal aide-de-camp to the Queen.
Peter Phillips, 1977-
Peter Phillips is the only son of Princess Anne and her first husband Captain Mark Phillips, and the eldest grandchild of Queen Elizabeth. Peter’s parents reportedly turned down the Queen’s offer of a royal title for their son, hoping instead to enable him to lead a more normal life. In 2008 he married Autumn Kelly, and the couple have two children together: Savannah Phillips (2010-) and Isla Phillips (2012-)
Zara Tindall, 1981-
Zara Tindall is the younger child of Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips and the eldest granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth. That said, she does not hold a royal title. Her parents reportedly turned down the Queen’s offer for one in hopes that Zara might lead a more normal life. Like her mother, Zara is an accomplished equestrian and Olympian, winning a silver medal at the 2012 Olympics in London, and she has been appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire for her services to equestrianism. Zara married Mike Tindall, a former rugby player, in 2011, and the couple have two children together: Mia Tindall (2014-) and Lena Tindall (2018-).
Prince Andrew, Duke of York, 1960-
Prince Andrew is the third child and second son of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, He served in the Royal Navy for many years, including during the Falklands War in 1982, and holds the ranks of commander and Vice Admiral. He married Sarah Ferguson in 1986, and the couple had two daughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, before divorcing in 1996.
Sarah, Duchess of York, 1959-
The former wife of Prince Andrew, Sarah Ferguson is widely known by the nickname “Fergie.” Sarah had known Andrew since childhood, and became engaged to him in 1986. The couple married at Westminster Abbey later that year, and went on to have two daughters. Sarah and Andrew announced their separation in 1992, and were divorced four years later in 1996, though by all accounts they still have an amicable relationship.
Princess Beatrice of York, 1988-
The elder daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah, Duchess of York, and Queen Elizabeth’s granddaughter. Beatrice was educated at St George’s School (the alma mater of Prince Richard’s daughters Lady Davina Lewis and Lady Rose Gilman) and in 2011 graduated from Goldsmiths College in London.
Princess Eugenie, 1990-
The younger daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah, Duchess of York, and Queen Elizabeth’s granddaughter. Eugenie attended St George’s School with her elder sister Beatrice, and later graduated from Newcastle University. In October of 2018, Eugenie married her partner of seven years, Jack Brooksbank, in a ceremony at Windsor Castle.
Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, 1964-
The youngest child and third son of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, Edward attended Cambridge University and later joined the Royal Marines, but dropped out after four months. In 1999 he married Sophie Rhys-Jones, and the couple have two children. Prince Edward is a full-time working royal and has recently taken over several responsibilities from his father, following Prince Philip’s retirement from royal duties.
Sophie, Countess of Wessex, 1965-
Sophie Helen Rhys-Jones met Prince Edward while she was working in radio, and the couple dated for six years before marrying in 1999. They have two children together, Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn. While she previously had a career in public relations, Sophie is now a full-time working royal like her husband, and frequently supports the Queen, her mother-in-law, in her royal duties.
Lady Louise Windsor, 2003-
The elder child and only daughter of Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, Lady Louise is the youngest granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth. She and her brother James embarked on their first royal engagement in 2015, accompanying their parents to South Africa. You might also recognize her as one of the bridesmaids from Will and Kate’s royal wedding in 2011.
James, Viscount Severn, 2007-
The younger child and only son of Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, James is the youngest grandchild of Queen Elizabeth. Both he and his older sister Louise embarked on their first royal engagement in 2015, accompanying their parents to South Africa.
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, 1982-
The elder son of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, William is currently second in the British line of succession. After attending Eton College and St Andrew’s University, he trained at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and served in the Royal Air Force, eventually becoming a search-and-rescue pilot. He has since left the military and is now a full-time working royal. In 2011, he married his longtime girlfriend, Catherine Middleton, whom he met at St Andrew’s, and the couple now have three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis.
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, 1982-
After growing up in Chapel Row near Newbury as the oldest daughter of Carole and Michael Middleton, Kate met Prince William at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. After a long courtship, the couple married at Westminster Abbey in 2011 in a ceremony which was attended by celebrities, dignitaries, and royals from across Europe. She and William have three children together, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis, and Kate now works as a full-time royal focusing on organizations which support young people and mothers, and that help to fight the stigma of mental health issues.
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, 1984-
The younger son of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, Harry is currently sixth in the line of succession. After attending Eton College like his elder brother William, Harry trained at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, and served in the British Army where he was twice deployed to Afghanistan, making Harry the first royal to serve in a war zone since his uncle Prince Andrew. In May of 2018 Harry married American actress Meghan Markle, and in October of the same year, they announced they were expecting their first child.
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, 1981-
The Duchess of Sussex is breaking the mold of the British royal family in more ways than one. She is biracial and grew up in California, eventually becoming an actress, and starring in the legal drama Suits. Markle, who divorced her first husband in 2013, was reportedly set up on a blind date with Harry in 2016, and they made their first official public appearance together in September, 2017 at the Invictus Games. They married the following May at Windsor Castle and announced they are expecting their first child in the Spring of 2019.
Prince George of Cambridge, 2013-
The first child and elder son of Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, George was born on July 22, 2013 and is currently third in the line of succession.
Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, 2015-
The second child, and only daughter, of Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Charlotte was born on May 2, 2015. She is currently fourth in the line of succession.
Prince Louis of Cambridge, 2018-
The third child, and second son, of Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Louis was born on April 23, 2018. He is currently fifth in the line of succession.
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