Notes on German Culture

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert continued the German heritage of British monarchs

This portrait of Queen Victoria and family was painted by Franz Winterhalter in 1846. Winterhalter was a German artist who first visited Britain in 1842 and became one of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s favorite painters, creating about 120 works for them.

Queen Victoria was the last British monarch of the German House of Hanover. Her son and successor, Edward VII, belonged to the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, the line of his father, which continued the German heritage of British monarchs until the present day.

Prince Albert (1819-1861) was also responsible for the introduction of German Christmas customs (including the Christmas tree) in England. The British royal family still celebrates Christmas the German way on December 24th rather than on Christmas Day, as is normal English custom.

The House of Windsor name now used by Queen Elizabeth II and other British royals only dates back to 1917. Edward VII ‘s son, George Frederick Ernest Albert (1865-1936) who became King George V in 1910, was the man who changed his Saxe-Coburg family name to “Windsor”, an English name taken from one of the King’s castles.

It should be noted that among the other British royals who also dropped their German names and titles was the well-known Lord Mountbatten. His name was Prince Louis of Battenberg from the time of his birth until 1917, when he and several other relations of King George V dropped their German names and titles.

Lord Mountbatten, born Prince Louis of Battenberg

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