Many people are familiar with Queen Elizabeth; however, not everyone is as familiar with her last name. Additionally, there's another fact that not many people know. Had Queen Elizabeth been born just about a decade earlier, her last name might very well have been different. However, due to tensions related to World War I, the family changed their last name in 1917.
Queen Elizabeth was born on April 21, 1926. Her full name at birth was Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, and she was born of the royal House of Windsor. Therefore, Queen Elizabeth's last name is Windsor.
She married on November 20, 1947 to a man whose name was Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten. He had other titles in the past; however, he renounced them and that became his name. Elizabeth, though, did not adopt the tradition of taking her husband's last name. In fact, on April 9, 1952, she announced "that I and my children shall be styled and known as the house and family of Windsor, and that my descendants who marry and their descendants, shall bear the name of Windsor."
Tracing Queen Elizabeth's ancestry in the first millenium of the years dubbed "A.D." is difficult. At that time, many people were only known by their first names. If they had a last name, otherwise known as a family name, it was often based on either the person's profession or his or her town of origin. For example, think about Jesus. He was often referred to as Jesus of Nazareth, because that is where he was from.
Queen Elizabeth's paternal grandfather's ancestry has been traced back to Germany. The ancestors such as Frederick and Dedo I belonged to the House of Wettin in the 900s. After they inherited the Wettin Castle, they took on the last name of Wettin. Wettin Castle was located near Wettin in Saxony, Germany. Wettin would have been Queen Elizabeth's last name if her family would have kept on with that name.
Originally, or at least until 1917, the name of the family that Queen Elizabeth was born into was the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Her father, King George VI, was born in 1895 with that last name. However, on July 17, 1917, Queen Elizabeth's grandfather, King George V, announced that he and his family would become the House of Windsor. The reason for this movement was because England had major feelings of discontent against Germany due to World War I.
Now that you know the answer to what is Queen Elizabeth's last name, do you think that you will actually use it? Most people won't, since kings and queens are generally just known by their first name, and perhaps numbers if they are one in the line of many same named people. Perhaps even more interesting is the fact that although England no longer has kings and queens ruling the land, they still refer to Elizabeth as Queen Elizabeth.